The second expert debate on the future remodeling of Plaza de España in Madrid took place last Thursday, February 25th,, at the Association of Civil Engineers, as part of the public participation process which has been launched by the City Hall of Madrid.
Thursday, 25 de February de 2016
Susana Canogar participated as representative of the Landscape Architect Professional Association (Asociación Española de Paisajistas), together with Tomás Fernández, José Javier Muruzabal and Miguel Álvarez, Civil Engineers, Carlos Lahoz, Architect and Vicepresident of the Madrid professional association COAM, Pilar Vega, Geographer and expert in Sustainable Mobility, and Iván Villarubia, Architect and author of the map of calm streets for cycling in Madrid.
The debate was presented by the Dean of the Engineers and the Public Participation and Sustainable Urban Development Councilors of the Madrid City Hall.
In her intervention Susana defended the need to remodel the plaza, a wannabe emblematic public space in the city, but at present a tired and run-down plaza. The process offers the chance to work towards the desired city model and to tackle major problems in Madrid.
She argued for Plaza de España becoming an important piece in the city green open space network, hence the importance of a “green” treatment in a future renovated plaza. Apart from the ornamental value of trees and plants it is an opportunity to strengthen the role of greenery in our cities as part of the basic infrastructure of the city, trees in particular having an important environmental function. So that trees can prosper in the city, certain structural needs have to be met in projects.
She also pointed out the importance of maintenance and park management in municipalities with dwindling budgets, an essential aspect if the green infrastructure is to prosper and fulfill its role. In rethinking this public space it is important for the future maintenance issues to be taken into account to avoid deterioration of a costly public investment, as has occurred in the Valdebebas urban project. Some cities are looking for new formulas to manage and activate parks, Bryant Park in New York being a notable example. A not-for -profit corporation manages the park and is charged with security, cleaning, maintenance of landscape and programming of multiple events and activities throughout the year, making it one of the most vibrant public spaces in the city with over 6 million visitors a year.
She defended the participation of landscape architects in the whole process, in the project team as well as in the jury in the case the competition is finally launched.