The continuing process of suburbanization has now shaped the so called Area Metropolitana do Porto. Nowadays both inhabitants and businesses relocate to the sourrounding municipalities, whereas the inner city is inhabited by vulnerable social groups. Recent crisis, unemployment and low renting prices has forced anyone able to pay for higher quality housing to move out, while the quality of older building heritage is downgrading. As a result, municipalities surrounding Porto are getting more and more independent and prefer to follow their own agenda instead of being part of one defined and performing metropolitan region.
Starting from a large scale analysis, the project finds a way to turn these preconditions into potentiality and to stimulate through an injection of program a sterile and even oldfashioned city. In order to activate this vitality and incentivize affordable housing, the project works on a central strategic strip cutting the city in the middle and crossing the Boa Vista axis.
At a local scale the strip can be characterized by a rich juxtaposition of uses where workspaces, transport infrastructure, leisure, offices or large scale developments sit side by side. In addition to the main project in Las Fontainhas, four case studies provide some key principles for intervention, which are intended to act as a guidance for future development.
As the strip runs through an heterogeneous land, different approaches are required, each one suiting a different part of the city (from compact to generic..). The main principles for intervention are: making uses lively and visible, making social spaces, using vacant spaces, providing affordable workspaces.
Case 4 location is Las Fontainhas, a colourful area characterized by a unique view of the river Douro. Appearances aside, the area is inhabited by helpless social classes and his quality is now downgrading. Proximity to the inner city may give Las Fontainhas the opportunity to play an active role in the strip, as supposed by our scenario.
The suggested program consists of a cultural and educational agenda mixed with a more spontaneous and amusing one, which should be the lifeblood of the project. In order to avoid a shocking impact, the tipology of intervention respects local spatiality and models.
The old modernist raised road standing in front of the site is pressed down, and this allows to free public space for commerce, to open the block, and to introduce three main actors: a library, a space for expositions and a tower for leisure integration and workspaces. As a consequence, the strategy should encourage to re-inhabit and cheer up the site.
Town Planning Design Studio
Project topic Urban renewal
Location Porto, Portugal
Year 2014, april/june
Mentors Nicola Russi, Paolo Bozzuto
With A. Spinella, M. Tenan