Re-using outdated infrastructure: the case of Guadalmedina riverbed
Libro: Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity. Reclaiming the Possibility of Making
Last page: 135
Keywords: urbanism, urban planning, scarcity, architecture, Málaga, Guadalmedina, re-using, infraestructure
In this paper we present an urban process that will foster the benefits of an outdated infrastructure through public use, which works as a catalyst for economic revitalization. Guadalmedina River, in Málaga (Spain) is a dried river that splits the city in two parts. Architects drew up plans to recover this area as a public space. Politicians convened hearings. Editorialists wrote impassioned commentaries. But everything they planned was too costly and nothing happened for decades.
The open model of Guadalmedina public use as presented in this proposal is an example of new forms of urban intervention in a context characterized by difficulties in making major interventions involving heavy investment efforts. It belongs to the orbit of the new trends in planning intervention based on the creation of new spaces of social opportunity, high impact, high effectiveness and low budgets. It involves the mobilization of underutilized resources of the city, in this case the Guadalmedina and all its area of influence, urban intelligence and opportunities to generate new resources for economic development and social enjoyment.
The activation of these resources as multiplier effects doesn’t only imply a physical renewal, but also, the generation of new activities to invigorate the local economy and civil society.
The integration of urban projects in the local economy is positive in every possible way: it generates opportunities for launching new activities to encourage local trade, new tourist attraction activities and the reuse of existing capabilities in the city.
The Guadalmedina strategy I propose is based on the following propositions. (i) Do not wait any longer to enjoy the city. (ii) Maintain, facilitate and enhance existing uses. (iii) Without building in the riverbed. (iv) Bring the city close to the river. (v) Neighbourhood implication. (vi) Join sea, mountain and city. (vii) Retrieve the Alameda (Main Street crossing the Guadalmedina) as the urban lounge. (viii) Foster citizens’ identity with the Guadalmedina. (ix) Work downstream.