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2016 MCHAP

MAPOCHO 42K: A Geographical Promenade for Social Equity

Iturriaga, Baixas, Ibieta, Croxatto

Santiago, Chile

October 2015


Sandra Iturriaga Del Campo Juan Baixas Figueras Paulina Ibieta Illanes Francisco Croxatto Viviani


Juana Zunino Muratori (Landscape Architect M42K) Enzo Morales (Graphic Designer) Douglas Leonard Aliaga (Lighting Designer) Francisco Quintana Osorio (Contributor Architect)




Francisco Croxatto Viviani


One of the characteristics of Mapocho 42k is that it didn’t come from a concrete request or a specific client, but rather is the result of setting our vision on the city from an academic point of view, with the will power of something real. In fact, this proposal was born as an applied research, developed by an academic team from the School of Architecture of the Universidad Católica de Chile. The research became a concrete proposal for the city, through a grant fund which allowed the development of the design. This proposal, named “Mapocho 42K”, sparked the interest of the central government during 2013, which derived in 16.5 kilometers built to this date. One of the main strengths of managing a public initiative from within the University is that it has been able to sustain itself on the long run, and at the same time, has allowed to extend the traditional architect’s role as designer, to one of “assembler” in order to uphold its condition as a Collective Project : At the beginning of this process we convened a great number of public and private actors, in order to integrate them into a strong proposal that represented and identified them all. Herewith, the design strategy was to work with an open structure, capable of incorporating new variables, both during and after the development of the project, but at the same time, with enough character and formal design to have its own identifiable matrix along the complete 42K promenade.


The main idea behind this Project is to recover the Mapocho riverbank as an east-west oriented backbone of Santiago de Chile. This is done through a metropolitan promenade that crosses 42k, starting from the base of the Andes Cord until the beginning of the rural area. This allows to reveal the landscape of the valley of Santiago through an element of geographical continuity, as well as a social connection devise. The Mapocho 42K promenade, is proposed as a public space meant for the urban flow exchange and recreation for pedestrians and cyclist alike, either strolling, sporting or commuting, which allows to connect all the existing and potential green areas, in a geographical and landscape continuity, contributing for a better quality of urban life and equity. At the same time, the proposal seeks to connect eleven boroughs of different social and topographic conditions, allowing the maximum connectivity within a highly segregated city, stimulating the integration of these communities and neighborhoods, in opposition to the administrative fragmentation of its riverbanks. This corridor is proposed as both a physical and social continuity, capable of reconfiguring the lost connectivity as much as possible, and use this as a starting point for other future urban renovations. The implementation of this promenade considers low cost and high resistant components and vegetation that is adapted to our semi-arid climate, with the same quality in all the boroughs. This elemental components were thought as a palet that could be implemented by each municipality by their own.


The proposal’s investment has been very low in relation with the achieved goal: a public promenade of geographical dimensions that promotes the maximum sustainable mobility and social equity with the lowest costs in construction, and maintenance and the same standard throughout its entire length. Locally the communities have seen the transformation of a degraded environment into an improvement in their life quality. Two concepts have been key to the spatial implementation of the project: on one hand, consolidating the proposal as an urban balcony along the river, which acts as a natural viewpoint towards its geography, and on the other hand, considering the promenade as an ecological backbone along its main structure. The design strategy was thought out as an adaptable width of between 15 and 25 meters, articulated with diverse resting areas, play zones, and squares, that are widely used by the local communities. This width is a structural line that allows the later incorporation of other adjacent areas, by each municipality. The main effort during the project development was to demonstrate to decision-makers the attributes of this geographical 42Kpromenade as social equity, capable of transforming a fragmented condition into a collective dimension. This argument has become today their own leitmotiv. In order to maintain this effort throughout time, we have implemented a website where is possible to keep in contact with the communities. The itinerary of this experience, allows to demonstrate, that in some sense, urban design is an exercise of passion, but mostly of great patience.

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