20 December 2021

[Technical Cooperation Buenos Aires] First field mission and workshop on urban challenges in Buenos Aires, Paris and Rio de Janeiro

In April 2021, CODATU signed a 3-year technical cooperation agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires in order to support the Argentinean capital in its urban development and sustainable mobility projects.

Within the City of Buenos Aires, three entities benefit from the technical cooperation program: the Secretariat of Transport and Public Works (SECTOP), the Ministry of Public Spaces and Urban Hygiene (MEPeHU) and the City Housing Institute (IVC).

The initiatives supported are part of the response to the urban challenges identified in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had a lasting impact on the relationship between public space and the daily mobility of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires, particularly in the most vulnerable neighborhoods. Technical cooperation supports projects to improve public spaces, develop active modes of transport and improve accessibility in the city’s working-class neighborhoods, through the exchange of good practices and the financing of studies.

The first technical cooperation mission took place from 22 to 26 November 2021 in Buenos Aires. The French delegation (AFD and CODATU) and the Argentinean teams were able to meet, carry out site visits and work on the definition of the studies that will be financed in the framework of the cooperation. This mission was also an opportunity to organize a workshop on the theme of public spaces and accessibility in working-class neighborhoods, led by experts mobilized by CODATU and the City of Buenos Aires.

Problem-oriented visits to the cooperation’s pilot districts

Teams from the City of Buenos Aires accompanied the French delegation on a visit to the three pilot neighborhoods of the technical cooperation (Flores, Nueva Pompeya and Villa Lugano). These neighborhoods are characterized by major socio-economic differences depending on the areas they cover precarious areas suffer from a lack of basic urban infrastructure (asphalt, electricity, sanitation), poor access to urban services (buses, deliveries) and a lack of public spaces (particularly green spaces), while others are integrated into the formal city and face challenges related to the enhancement of heritage or the greening of public spaces.

These visits allowed the cooperation actors to better understand the dynamics of these territories and to adapt the objectives of the studies that will be launched in 2022. Other visits will be organized regularly with members of the City of Buenos Aires, but also with the inhabitants of the neighborhoods within the framework of walking diagnoses that will allow the precise spatialization of the challenges encountered on a daily basis in public space.

Visit to the 1-11-14 neighborhood in Flores, Buenos Aires

Technical meetings with municipal teams to define the objectives of the studies

The purpose of the meetings held with the three City of Buenos Aires entities benefiting from the technical cooperation program (SECTOP, MEPeHU and IVC) was to specify the content of the studies to be carried out. These followed on from numerous previous virtual exchanges and, during these face-to-face meetings, the teams were able to specify the aspects linked to the operational progress of the study, the various deliverables expected by the City of Buenos Aires, as well as the methods for monitoring and evaluating the consultant’s work.

The technical cooperation will make it possible to finance several studies for the City of Buenos Aires. CODATU will support the Argentinean partner in the implementation and monitoring of these studies. These include mobility surveys in various working-class neighborhoods of the city, the production of a methodological guide for the development of emblematic streets, as well as the proposal of a framework for public spaces in Barrio 20, a working-class neighborhood where the City of Buenos Aires is actively working on urban renewal and social integration.

Presentation by Solange Carvalho during the workshop

On Thursday 25 November, a workshop was held which brought together almost 35 people from the City of Buenos Aires. Like the webinar organized last July by the cooperation, this workshop presented local and international cases on the improvement of public spaces and accessibility in working-class neighborhoods and gave rise to exchanges between the participants.

In this workshop, Natalia Neri from the SECTOP of the City of Buenos Aires, presented projects to improve the accessibility of working-class neighborhoods by modifying bus routes and stops. Solange Carvalho, professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and founder of the company ArquiTraço, shared her experience on several intervention projects in public spaces in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Cécile Diguet, consultant for CODATU and director of the Urbanism, Planning and Territories Department of the Paris Region Institute, recalled what transitional urbanism and tactical urbanism consist of, and presented cases of intervention in Paris.

These varied examples led to a rich dialogue between the international speakers and the Argentinians, but also within the City of Buenos Aires teams: the IVC, MEPeHU and SECTOP teams then had the opportunity to discuss the financial, operational and coordination issues between the municipal services that they face in their projects.

A steering committee meeting held at the end of the mission enabled all the partners to agree on the next stages of the cooperation, and in particular on the organization of a new mission to Buenos Aires next March. Happy holidays and see you in 2022!