Transforming (infra)structures

Large infrastructure transformation projects are never isolated from its larger context. In the centre of Praha the street space is again rediscovered as public space, now also on areas with large rail and road infrastructures. Vojtěch Benedikt presented one recent redesigned public space project (Vinohradská / National Museum) that opened a new variety of possibilities for people. Bringing back the tram lines at the street level, as a complementary public transport system to the deep underground metro system, also points out a new look into a future system of trams in Praha. Vojtěch underlined that communication it is a key to success: “if you can find a good story, then you can recreate the street, and create something for the people instead something only for traffic”.
From Brussels, Milène Deneubourg showed us the masterplan for the Herrmann-Debroux road. The reconversion of a large road infrastructure into an urban boulevard was presented due different future possibilities. Without a blue print or known budget, this masterplan was useful to establish ideas, ambitions and the outlines of a future transformation road project and various areas along it. The necessity of a good narrative and communication with all the community is very important in this on-going planning process, with citizens, various public entities and private stakeholders. Milène shared with us also doubts and question, like: “ how to keep the interest of the public? Now there’s a really dynamic masterplan, but it will take a lot of time! How to continue the story with the people? And also the politics?”.
In the ongoing research to public space projects in the last 20 years in the Lisbon region, João Rafael Santos reflected on various generations of projects: “If you look in the projects developed in the first 5 to 10 years of our timeframe they are clearly more local oriented .. [now] you see a multiplication of a bigger scale projects, at least trying to establish more continuous systems, engaging with road requalification, long cycle paths, linear parks, things that are working towards a systemic and bigger scale approach to these transformations ..”.
Infrastructures in transition takes many years to be completed. This session showed us that communication, planning strategics and design principles are changing in time. Learning from other examples within the same regional scope or from elsewhere, are both very useful in future transformation projects. In a way, the city is never finished, but always ready to be used. This counts also for the network of streets.


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