In a series of projects envisioning a sustainable future for the city of Bogota, Colombia, a group of graduate architecture students at the Post-Graduate Program of PennDesign are looking at new ways to revitalize urban spaces in a “bottom-up” way. Connected to the trends around future cities that PSFK.com has identified of Elastic Environments, Collaborative Economy and Derelict Revival, the Neo-Athens proposal calls for emphasizing the impact educational institutions have on their surroundings, and pursuing an urban network of distributed rather than a centralized student facilities.
Bogota is reputed as the education Hub of Latin America, however government’s recent proposal to privatize the education system has led to fears that this would severely limit access to education to only the elite. The proposal here is that for the many universities located within downtown Bogota the city becomes an extended campus, bringing some much-needed life into the quiet downtown. Parque Tercer Milenio is chosen as the activation center from where facilities spiral out through Downtown.
The Neo:Athens proposal looks at the university as an agent to revitalize downtown Bogota. Rather than one agent, a network of strategically placed agents would work together to provide shared amenities as well as partnership platforms with various different sectors (the Arts, Civic, Museums, Retail, Industrial and Innovation) to increase the presence of the Universities within downtown. The intent is to create a framework that ensures education becomes accessible to all within downtown Bogota and revitalizes the city through the presence and vitality of Bogota’s youth.
By envisioning the city itself as a campus, everyday spaces are transformed to accommodate a variety of uses. There are many ways in which university culture can benefit its surrounding area. For example it can serve as an innovation and design platform for the community, a business incubator, a student tutoring service, an integrated help-desk, and a platform for political debate. Furthermore, infrastructure such as libraries, bookstores, cafes, and gyms can be open to surrounding residents, essentially providing these services in a more effective manner than city government.
In this way, looking at the city as a campus which is networked through educational institutions spread throughout the city, academic institutions have the potential to serve multiple roles for the community: as places of higher learning, hubs of infrastructure, catalysts for community engagement, and most of all; places of fun!
Concept by: Kil Hyun Kim & Teik Rong Khoo of UPenn School Of Design
Over the next 6 months, PSFK and a team of experts imaging the future of a city will be asking you what you envision as ‘My Ideal City’. View all the submissions at the MyIdealCity site.