In a series of projects envisioning a sustainable future for the city of Bogota, Colombia, a group of graduate architecture students at the University of Pennsylvania are looking at new ways to revitalize urban spaces. In relation to a trend that PSFK.com has labeled as Derelict Revival, this proposal calls for building an extension onto the existing Parque Tercer Milenio in order to draw in engagement from the larger community.
Within the Metropolitan Area yet far from Downtown Bogota lay several major parks such as the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park and the National Park (1,000,000 SQ.M and 1,145,000 SQ.M respectively, the largest city parks of Bogota).
In the central, downtown neighborhoods of Martires, Sante Fe, Candelaria, Antonio Narino, and San Cristobal downtown), there are very few sizable public parks, like Parque Santander (6,240 SQ.M), Park Journalists (6,000 SQ.M) and Parque Tercer Milenio, (160,000 SQ.M).
Parque Tercer Milenio was initially built as part of a city plan that aimed to improve and modernize downtown Bogota, financed by the department for District Planning and Urban Renewal – along with other government funding – who invested 105 million pesos to buy the land and design the park. A team comprising Carlos Hernandez, Rafael Esguerra Camilo Santa Maria, and Giancarlo Mazzanti and Diana Wiesner, were called in to run the project, the first phase of which was completed in 2002.
The park is located in downtown Bogota, offering unobstructed views of the Monserrate Mountains and residential districts climbing up the hillsides below them. It is also located in an area close to the infamous neighborhoods of El Bronx and San Bernardo, formerly known for drug trafficking, prostitution and high crime rate. Thanks to various initiatives the area transitioned into a safer, busy recreational zone for the citizens of Bogota, with the Parque Tercer Milenio playing a pivotal role in the regeneration of the whole area, offering a green expanse and fresh air amid the traffic and hectic city life.
A high risen area of the park created a natural “barricade” between El Bronx and Civic Centre near the Presidential Palace. The project is not over yet, the expansion seeks to cover the area from Avenida Jimenez to Caracas, between Sixth and Ninth Avenue.
We are considering strategies that could elongate the park in both directions – north and south – to reconnect the east and west neighborhoods, and act also as a “filter” between them. The intention is to allow better fluency in the city east-west traffic through the avenues Caracas and Carrera 10, and no longer dividing Martires from Sante Fe.
Our strategy merely looks to capitalize on the good aspects of this park, and further extend portions of it, to create a network with paths and green walkways. By adding new programs such as musical fountains, interactive sculptures, Grass lawns for outdoor entertainment, running and cycling paths, waterways and dog parks, Parque Tercer Milenio will attract tourists and citizens from around the area activating the park.
Local schools and residents will use these parks regularly while the general public will increasingly patronize its green spaces and attractions. By emphasizing the development of clean, open spaces – and thus improving local resident’s quality of life – we are encouraging social interaction that will naturally drive out crime and degradation.
We believe that the new, now “Ecological”, park can grow south to the hospital district along Calle 1, and extend north to Calle 19 to become a campus park for neighboring students and residents.
A park of greater scale is also an essential part in any major city plan and an important focus for its inhabitants, as demonstrated in cities like Chicago, London, NYC, and many others.
Over the next 6 months, PSFK will be covering urban trends that are changing the cities we live in at psfk.com/my-ideal-city. Contribute your ideas at the MyIdealCity site.