Spaces of arrival : swamp as a terrain of contestation in Cartagena, Colombia
Swamp as a terrain of contestation in Cartagena, Columbia
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Cristina Parreño and Roi Salgueiro Barrio.
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This project delves into the aqueous terrain where the arrival of people and water coalesce. Specifically, it explores the shifting landscape of the Virgen Swamp, in the coastal city of Cartagena, Colombia, where there is friction between flows of urban occupation and ecological flows. This friction is most noticeable in the 4km south border where urban occupation has taken over a fringe of approximately 80 meters of what used to be water. This water-people relationship is dialectical; urban occupation triggers the swamp to resist with floods, erosion and contamination. The city of Cartagena is full of stories of displacement and contestation with physical manifestations in the border of the swamp. Arrival neighborhoods at the border face a situation of simultaneous uncertain citizenship and ecologic vulnerability. The mangrove forest bordering the Virgen Swamp has been considered wasteland, and thus a place to be reclaimed by immigrants who find no other space in the city.This mangrove forest serves as gradient between water and land filtering the water, preventing land erosion and protecting from storm surge. The recession of the swamp's shoreline due to urban development has degraded the once continuous loop of mangrove forest. The re-shaping of the border between water and land has occurred in the form of spontaneous occupation by immigrants and striated interventions led by the city and large private stakeholders in an attempt to solve water-land frictions. This thesis questions the idea of the swamp as a space of unchecked development or hard divisions. Instead, it sees the swamp's relationship to the urban and ecological as one of gradient and fluidity. In response to the transient nature of the urban arrival threshold, the thesis re-imagines an integrated development plan which brings together different stakeholders, proposing placemaking strategies for a space of displacement.The proposed network of spaces catalyzes community reinforcement and livelihood. The project employs a systemic approach, exploring different scales and temporalities, and proposing design strategies that are both incremental and substantial.
Thesis: M. Arch., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. Page 100 blank.Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-83).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology