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Tema - Educación
Tema - entornos de arquitectura
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Estudio urbanístico de los potenciales urbanos, sociales y ambientales de la red de equipamientos escolares 22@, Poble Nou, Barcelona” (“Urban Planning Study into the Urban, Social and Environmental Potential of the 22@ School Facilities Network, Poble Nou, Barcelona”). Commission: BIT-Habitat – Barcelona City Council. Coordination: M.P. Fontana, M. Mayorga (mayorga+fontana arqs). Collaborators: M. Casado, X. Abadía, M. Ramos, A. Fernández. Web Design and Interactive Platform: Jorge Rodríguez (corolari.net)

Schools for Making “Hubs”: Neighbourhood Thoughts for Poblenou-22@ in Barcelona

Barcelona. Poble Nou-22@. Network of schools and educational facilities. Calle Peru-Paraguay and its potential as a neighbourhood hub. Source: Mayorga+Fontana Arquitectos

We’re now in a very productive period full of new ideas about Catalonia’s schools. Ideas, initiatives and proposals are being touted suggesting ways of reviewing and updating the role educational establishments play in the city to better exploit their architectural, urban planning, pedagogical, social and environmental potential.  The present state of affairs is well illustrated by a number of different types of initiatives, including: the “Hack the School. Places to Live and Learn” competition organized by the Fundación Bofill; the XXIX edition of the “El pati d’escola” Habitácola Awards, organized by ArquinFad; the Nous espais, nous aprenentatges. Repensem els espais educatius symposium, organized jointly by COAC (the official architects’ association in Catalonia), the Department of Education and the Fundación Bofill; the COAC’s Concurs d’idees-pòster per a la transformació de centres educativos; and different programmes run by local councils in Barcelona, the latest of which – “Adaptació climàtica a les escoles blava, verda i grisa” – has been recognised by the European Commission as an Urban Innovation Action to convert schools into climate havens. There are also some idea-sharing forums on pedagogical renewal: «Com està el pati? Xarxa en acció pels espais exteriors de les escoles” at the Rosa Sensat teachers’ association; the El Nou Safareig blog, where experiences are shared about the playground as an educational space; and the recent founding of Patios habitables, a national network of professionals representing different specialisations and with over 4,000 followers.

While it’s easy, in view of such activity, to understand the importance of the issue and the interest it arouses, it’s also possible to identify a number of key aspects which vary in nature and scale: furniture, the classroom, transition spaces (especially the playground), exterior spaces and the urban environment. This last aspect merits special attention insofar that it mainly concerns the environmental conditions of schools and their potential for integration into their neighbourhoods.  There’s no shortage of measures and proposals for improving schools’ relationships with their surroundings (take, for example, the “Camí escolar. Espai amic”, “Patis Oberts” and “Omplim de vida els entorns escolars” programmes, and even the implementation of the “Superilles” programme), and these initiatives, if approached in a more articulated manner, have the potential to become more efficient instruments for highlighting the role of schools and their synergies as neighbourhood hubs. This would inevitably mean rethinking how a school and its specific physical and social environment interacts with other urban buildings and activities and with other collective spaces in its own neighbourhood.

A study based on this approach1 and involving the application of new instruments and methods of urban analysis and design was carried out at Poblenou-22@1. It allowed the researchers to assess neighbourhoods’ possibilities for improvement, emphasising the synergies they produce (or have the capacity to produce) and revealing the great potential of schools as shapers of a locally distributed urban hub system. This change of model for the “neighbourhood schools map” concept could lead to a new “habitability” in school environments, reinforce everyday relationships between local residents, and balance out relationships with the floating population. Schools occupy very specific, very characteristic places in cities: spaces of great symbolic value to the education community. It’s therefore just as necessary to improve their physical relationships with their specific surroundings and nurture interaction and synergies with other spaces as it is to improve their interior spaces.  “Going to school” is just as important as “Being at school”, and the creation of plans, programmes and projects for collective and public spaces associated with schools will help reinforce their educational role far beyond their classrooms.  It’s a way of building hubs, neighbourhoods and cities.


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
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Estudio urbanístico de los potenciales urbanos, sociales y ambientales de la red de equipamientos escolares 22@, Poble Nou, Barcelona” (“Urban Planning Study into the Urban, Social and Environmental Potential of the 22@ School Facilities Network, Poble Nou, Barcelona”). Commission: BIT-Habitat – Barcelona City Council. Coordination: M.P. Fontana, M. Mayorga (mayorga+fontana arqs). Collaborators: M. Casado, X. Abadía, M. Ramos, A. Fernández. Web Design and Interactive Platform: Jorge Rodríguez (corolari.net)

Autor:
Maria Pia Fontana, Profesora de la Universidad de Gerona (UdG). Doctora en Proyectos Arquitectónicos (UPC). Postgrado en Proyectación Urbanística (UPC). Arquitecta Universitá degli Studi di Napoli. Miguel Mayorga Cárdenas, Profesor Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña Barcelona (UPC). Doctor en Urbanismo y Gestión del territorio (UPC) Máster en Proyectación Urbanistica (UPC). Arquitecto Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL). Bogotá. Profesores colaboradores de la (UOC). Actualmente investigamos sobre cultura visual, arquitectura, ciudad y fotografía. Trabajamos sobre la habitabilibilidad y sostenibilidad arquitectónica y urbana con el uso de las nuevas tecnologías y nuevas modalidades de procesos técnico-participativos, en el desarrollo de proyectos urbanos, equipamientos, centros y entornos escolares, con énfasis en el diseño del espacio público y colectivo. Socios de mayorga+fontana arquitectos.

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