Live close to where you live

Live close to where you live

The project “Live close to home: a projection of a compact and responsive city for the central neighborhoods of the capital San José.” aims to propose a dense, compact, mixed city model that makes intelligent use and fair access to resources (soil, water, air) as a commons, to promote healthy, dignified lives for its inhabitants, and which reduces the impact of the effects of climate change. The project proposes to break with the city-countryside duality without falling into mistakes already made by other architects (eg, garden city) who proposed low densities and sectorization. It also meets the guidelines of the SDGs and the concept of the City as a Common Good.

The proposal was elaborated for the mega-block #11 in downtown San José, following these guidelines:
A. Use of rainwater (thinking about climate change, flood/drought scenarios)
B. Application of the concept of agroforestry (agricultural production in coexistence with forest for the livelihood of the neighborhood)
C. Traditional proximity commerce, together with spaces for new jobs (spaces for teleworking, in co-working that integrate nurseries, libraries, municipal entrepreneurship accelerators, etc.)    

This project participated in the international call for proposals of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2021, entitled CROSSROADS Building the resilient city.

[Project Location: Between 20th ave. and the 14th ave. and 10th street and the 2nd street, in the southern area of the San José downtown, Costa Rica.]

Our goal for this year 2020 stage in the process of the Social Housing as a Commons project was to develop a strategy that could reevaluate landscape planning based on the redefinition of the parameters of urban life. This, proposing a more efficient and functional urban space, with reduced ground coverage, for the basic living and development spaces, which at the same time would represent a possible model to be developed in the future in other areas of the city that also suffered from inadequate planning, which manifests itself with phenomena of accelerated overcrowding and abandonment at the same time.

The compilation of information is an arrangement of parameters to analyze the economy, business, lifestyle, and overall usage of the common spaces. These parameters provide a broad look at the problems within community relations, which need to be countered against inadequate planning that does not address their needs.

The need for intervention in these spaces could also be addressed from the impact for its inhabitants, which would translate into the capacity of a new local economy based on a sustainable and empowered community, recognized for its sensitivity to the environment and a better sense of community experience.

Therefore, a strategy was proposed to intervene in a city area that suffers from inadequate planning caused by the accelerated overcrowding and abandonment in this specific area of San Jose, Costa Rica. This generally affects the population of the area, due to problems of access to affordable housing in their neighborhood and daily living in a highly polluted environment. Having an overcrowded population is a common problem in several cities. But the main issue is what this indicator of overpopulation does to a space that wasn’t ready in design for it. 

The first marker is the inadequate planning of these areas that are visible in the unplanned streets and roads and the progressive growth in the use of vehicles in the city. The collapse of the different routes is just a small component of the overall issue. The lack of confidence in public transport linked to a not deeply rooted culture of it clearly translates into an excess of gas emissions for the capital.

Another pattern is the presence of redundant and little varied commerce in an area where there is no economy based on strong local products and where more generally there is a lack of areas for socialization. We observe a forgotten place, where the general economic activities are the result of a community without real empowerment.

These two markers are the representation of a society in need of urban intervention to give these communities the necessary infrastructure to rehabilitate.

Dragging the problems of overgrowth, for a community that has been neglected by public policies, has caused a fracture of the urban system and, at the same time, the dissociation of the resident community. Because its local commerce is not varied enough, the economy in this area is static as well as its community that lacks social and cultural spaces to develop a well-built sense of community. The overall planning and infrastructure of this sector require a change to develop a strategy that gives this population affordable housing in a thriving environment. 

For the development of the proposal 3 mega blocks were chosen previously zoned where each of them has dynamics particular social networks that make them function as such. The choice of the blocks was made through an analysis to determine which were the areas with the greatest urban potential, diversify the uses for the development of different proposals that can have a positive impact on the site and be able to evolve the conceptual programming by means of a physical spatial design.

The design of an urban conception is part of a strategy that goes along with projections and indicators that parametrize the design to have a successful intervention in a long term. These strategies of intervention would give the right infrastructure to these communities, planned roads to give pedestrian mobility by proximity. The main modulation of the building spaces is fundamental through a multi-position floor array building, and by acknowledging the revalorization of cultivation spaces and the hydrology mechanisms that it needs to thrive in the city to form a dynamic society and a new local business income. The new infrastructure will be able to provide heterogeneity for the local commerce to have local and cultural products with a stronger sense of nationality that will propel the economy.

We look for a better way of living in the city and at the same time, we deal with the problems that modern life brought us. Concerned about traffic and pollution, we need to create a system to get closer to a real urban solution for a problem that concerns us today but is growing unsustainably day by day.

Regular communication with the community is an important need to have a broad vision of the problems of the context. For this project, we set out to know the customs of the neighbors with respect to their environment, the people who characterize the neighborhood, and the rhythm of daily activities was the key to a contextualized project.

The planet demands that we listen to it. For this, we also have to give a voice to the people who demand a better standard of living. The quality that architects, urban planners, and decision-makers can provide to the Social Housing and its immediate context is the basis for change.

CROSSROADS Building the Resilient City
LagGov San José (Costa Rica) Events

LagGov San José (Costa Rica) Events

On May 8th, Margherita Valle, Architect and LabGov research collaborator will give a lecture on the “City as a commons” as part of the Collective Construction of the City day, which will take place during the XIV International Architecture Congress “Territory and Citizenship”, organized by the National Order of Architects of Costa Rica (CACR).

After a presentation on the theory and ideas on which LabGov is based, more specifically on the research led by Pr. Sheila Foster and Pr. Christian Iaione, she will share the work done by LabGov Costa Rica so far.

For further information see:

Social Housing as a Common Good for Resilient Cities

Social Housing as a Common Good for Resilient Cities

LabGov Costa Rica began this 2019 a project of Social Housing in collaboration with the Ministry of Housing and Human Settlements, and the real estate development council. The intention of this project is to apply the Co-City methodology in a collaborative experience between the academic sector, the public sector and private stakeholders.

The idea is born from the previous social housing LabGov approach, following the work presented at Matera with Federcasa in 2018. In this past encounter in fact a series of documents[1] were generated around the idea of the “house as a common” that come to be the theoretical foundation, among others, of this project in Costa Rica.

The objective of the project is to propose a new Social Housing solution within the framework of an urban regeneration plan that integrates the design of common goods, applies the transect and mega-blocks model, reflecting the new urban values: compactness , participation, 24/7, pedestrian friendly, mixed use, and self-sufficient, in terms of consumption and production of energy, information, goods and services.

The project is promoted by the academy, under the guidance of the teacher of Urban Design courses and the Coordinators of Research and Extension of the School of Architecture at Universidad Latina, as well as those responsible for the project for the Ministry of Housing and Human Settlements. The work of those involved will be to follow up on the proposals that will be formulated through presentations, focus groups, talks and working groups to finally evaluate the possibility of applying the project.

One of the main strategies is taking advantage of land management instruments and international experiences in social housing.

For this, we are going to generate a novel proposal to solve the access to decent housing for populations in need (elderly, young people, people with disabilities) avoiding the discrimination that generate projects that are exclusively dedicated to these users; and thus respond to a new conception of the city, as was proposed in the New Urban Agenda presented in Habitat III, in Quito in 2016.

To achieve it, we propose a strategy so that the buildings offer a % of units for social housing even being designed for the middle class; this in order to reduce discrimination and integrate users’ social level and in the urban fabric.

The project implementation area is located in the center of the capital, San José, in the south area between the Sabana Metropolitan Park, and near the Pacific Railway Station, in Víquez Square, developing along a stretch of the railway line in a desolate area of particular abandonment. This is also due to the fact that originally it was an area for industrial use that no longer works as such, reason why the residential areas of south of San José have developed mostly to meet the need for workers’ residences. Although the blocks of small wooden houses are characteristic of an era and a social class, the abandonment has strongly affected this sector causing deterioration of buildings, insecurity and poor investment in public infrastructure.

The main challenge to redeem this sector is the image of the neighborhood, the anti-fame and the current absence of a real group of neighbors, who gradually moved away from the center. Despite this, the potential of this area is linked to the fact that it belongs to the historic center of the capital, is a well-served area, full of buildings that can be recovered, a use of mixed land ranging from residential, commercial, institutional and industrial past, as well as being located in one of the main axes of east-west mobility, both in private and public transport mode.

For this reason, both from the public sector, and from the private sector, there is an interest in redeeming the district, as well as intervening throughout the portion of the railway line between the Metropolitan Park and the square. This is related to certain public policies that today aim to strengthen the use of the train as an alternative transport in response to the increase in vehicular traffic.

In order to make a feasible proposal, the students started from the process of the Cheap talk and Mapping directly on site, summing up the perception of the spaces as the potential of the same with various meetings and surveys. So far, these first two stages of the “Co-City cycle” process involved more than 15 students, 3 experts in mobility and land management, a deputy minister and ministerial councilors, 2 university professors and several residents interviewed during the days (and evenings) of inspection.

Currently the project is in a Practicing phase with the support of Ministry technicians and the timely intervention of experts from the private sector – belonging to the chamber of real estate developers, working on a phase of co-creation of specific proposals of commons (both intervention, as well as new implementations) and mixed-use building development (offices, commerce, residential and public use).

It is projected to reach a more mature phase of Prototype of the master plan during the half of the current year, to then put the proposals to the test, in a Testing phase in front of a jury composed of experts in the sector, public, private sector and the civil society of the interested parties. The idea of ​​turning a university course into a research laboratory where new urbanistic and architectural ideas are put to the service of citizenship, is not new in the international experience of LabGov, but what we propose for the first time is to co-design with all the actors involved an innovative project, both on the front of the design as on the legal source, that is to say the feasibility from the executive point of view, which depends on the public institutions and the interest of the companies.

[1] Monica Bernardi, Christian Iaione, Chiara Prevete, Home Pooling: Applying co-governance to the housing sector. And “Analisi empirica dell’innovazione nel finanziamento per le infrastrutture sociali (housing)”.

The impact of universities on society: Working on neighborhood commons in San José, Costa Rica

The impact of universities on society: Working on neighborhood commons in San José, Costa Rica

Versión en español a continuación

As part of the LabGov research and extension program for Costa Rica, the Architecture students of the Universidad Latina continue to apply the concepts of common goods to the city, collaborating with the community of the Cedros neighborhood, in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, an area of the capital of Costa Rica, San José.

The process that was carried out in the first months of 2018 began with the realization of an analysis of the community, followed by the setting of objectives and schedule of activities to be carried out as a laboratory and as workshops. The project could be carried out thanks to the help of the community and also of the Scouts group in the area. Starting the investigation, surveys and talks were conducted in order to have more accurate information to project the needs. The best option was to involve the community around the coexistence space that belongs to it and is part of their daily routine: the neighborhood park and the community hall.

As a result of the activities carried out, certain problems were determined in the community, specifically in the sector near the Community Hall and the School of Cedars, which, indeed, as had been observed in the first stage, are the areas most used by the neighbors.

Based on the LabGov methodology, the research group applied the Co-city protocol: knowing, mapping, practicing, prototyping, testing and modeling. In order to achieve a shared city, it was proposed from the beginning to promote in the community the appropriation of public space through specific interventions and achievable with short-term actions that did not come exclusively from the group of researchers, but from the members of the community itself. In this way it was concluded to carry out an intervention with urban furniture, since fundamentally public areas only lend themselves to certain defined uses (field/court sports and indoor congregation activities) and lack comfortable and simple facilities to sit, rest and socialize in the outdoors.


An initial challenge, before starting any project, was to make the community aware of what the common goods are. And how this information could be transmitted in a way that was co-constructed among all.

The commons are resources and networks that sustain life, and although their legal possession may be of a certain group or community, or an individual, they are used by all and of all is the benefit.

Taking into account that every resource becomes common through a process of work and regulation, we wanted to focus on finding and recognizing the Common Goods with the Cedros Community, as well as later introducing a set of new goods to take care of and reproduce: the urban furniture produced with recycled pallets as the main material, which were implemented according to the needs of the community.

The common goods, in addition to achieving citizen participation and creating urban awareness, also help to create an environment of collaboration and equality: as it is related in Peter Linebaugh’s book about “El Manifiesto de la Carta Magna” and the Forest Charter, for a long time, humanity has sought to create a more equitable society, through documents created so that common goods are preserved and protected. Based on these texts it has been shown how this legacy has remained over the years and it is our obligation as citizens to watch over the common goods, since being shared brings benefits for all. Likewise, not only should they be preserved, but improved with the help of a community structure that, in mutual agreement, fosters good communication and teamwork. With this, goods can be renewed over time and could be used by our society and inherited by future generations [1].

On the other hand, as clarified in the book “La Carta de los Comunes”, common goods are not only translated into public space or, in the case of our intervention, in urban furniture, but they go much further, contemplating the goods to which we all have access in our daily life, such as water, air and other natural elements. It is from these fundamental commons that awareness must arise for responsible use. In other words, we cannot limit ourselves to taking care of the benches of our park, if our rivers and seas are full of garbage. For this reason we have sought ways to encourage the recognition of different types of common goods by the young population of the community, involving them in the first person in the care of these goods; so that in a broader way they focus on taking care not only of the community’s assets, but also beyond, an heritage such as water [2].


The decision about the prototype to be proposed was taken after making several field visits and noting that the large green areas had a space dedicated to a small playground and a court. However these are not used due to various problems, among them, the easiest solution was to solve the absence of adequate equipment for living areas. Therefore, it was decided to create functional and modular furniture that could later be replicated by people, remaining as a prototype model that the community could build alone, when it needed more furniture. Trying to create a quiet, cozy and safe space to share with the children, this also required garbage dumps, to have a space free of waste and at the same time educate the recycling.


Within the activities programmed to achieve this project, the workshop was aimed at young people between the ages of 9 and 16. This got a very positive response from them after working on the book quoted above from the “La Carta de los Comunes” [2]. With this, they were able to understand the importance of greater participation and allowed to spring up in them a sincere interest for the care of our goods.


In the development of this project, a positive response was observed from the members of the community to get involved in decision-making. This was proven in the workshops held, such as the furniture-manufacturing workshop, in which the young people were willing to collaborate and thus they were even more incentivized to preserve these goods, since they were involved in the design process as well as manufacturing, manifesting feelings of appropriation on his part.

This type of activities developed together with the neighbors, generate a tangible impact on the communities, since that attitude arouses the interest of other nearby communities, making it replicate and have an impact at the country level, and at a global level as part of the LabGov program, which aims to be a network of local efforts as the ultimate goal of these actions.

As an added value, in the case of this urban laboratory in the Community of Cedros, it was intended from the beginning to strengthen and promote self-management and not the resolution of a specific problem by external actors. Therefore, the necessary tools were provided for any citizen to be able to repeat or adapt the models proposed in this prototype, through an open technical manual and editable 3D files, accessible to anyone who requires it, within the framework of the Creative Commons concept.

It is very important for urban life to achieve coexistence among its citizens through the use of public spaces that the city offers us. However, the urban space by itself does not work, because it needs to be thought for and by the citizens, used and cared for by them in a continuous and organic way. For this reason, academic interventions are not an achievement but a stimulus to revitalize these spaces as social nodes.

In Costa Rica, despite the renowned democratic culture, people still need to be empowered on the subject of civic rights and duties, and to become active and participatory members of the city’s spaces [3]. This is achieved through the management, methodologies and tools of citizen participation, which give a reason of real use to those spaces. The development of this management was done in coordination between the Creative Campus of the Latina University of Costa Rica, the Cedros Integral Development Association of Montes de Oca and Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana, thanks to the participation of the community and organized groups as the Guides and Scouts of Costa Rica.

The LabGov program of Costa Rica seeks to involve the students of urban design courses in a process of research and extension in order to experience and understand processes of innovation in urban design, not limited to the drawing stage but to processes of co-design management. This not only in order to achieve a broad citizen participation and create an urban awareness of care and maintenance of the urban commons, but also to understand the students as qualitative researchers and community stakeholders, which can – and should – be involved in social projects.


1 Linebaugh, P. (2013). El Manifiesto de la Carta Magna, Comunes y libertades para el pueblo. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.

2 (2011). La Carta de los Comunes, Para el cuidado y disfrute de lo que todos es. Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños.

3 PNUD. 2013. Informe Nacional sobre Desarrollo Humano 2013, Aprendiendo a vivir juntos: Convivencia y desarrollo humano en Costa Rica. San José, C.R.: Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo – PNUD Costa Rica, p. 233-235.




Como parte del programa de investigación y extensión LabGov para Costa Rica, los estudiantes de Arquitectura de la Universidad Latina continúan aplicando los conceptos de bienes comunes a la ciudad, colaborando con la comunidad del barrio Cedros, en San Pedro de Montes de Oca, una área de la capital de Costa Rica, San José.

El proceso que se llevó a cabo en los primeros meses del 2018 comenzó con la realización de un análisis de la comunidad, seguido por el planteamiento de objetivos y cronograma de actividades a llevar a cabo como laboratorio y como talleres. El proyecto pudo realizarse gracias a la ayuda de la comunidad y también del grupo Scouts de la zona. Dando comienzo a la investigación se realizaron encuestas y charlas con el fin de tener información más acertada para proyectar las necesidades. La mejor opción era involucrar a la comunidad alrededor del espacio de convivencia que le pertenece y es parte de su rutina diaria: el parque barrial y el salón comunal.

Como resultado de las actividades realizadas, se determinaron ciertos problemas en la comunidad, específicamente en el sector cercano al Salón Comunal y a la Escuela de Cedros, que, efectivamente como se había observado en la primera etapa, son las zonas más utilizadas por los vecinos.

Basándose en la metodología del LabGov el grupo de investigación aplicó el protocolo Co-ciudad: saber, mapear, practicar, prototipar, probar y modelar. Con el fin de lograr una ciudad compartida, se planteó desde el inicio promover en la comunidad la apropiación del espacio público por medio de intervenciones puntuales y alcanzables con acciones a corto plazo que no vinieran exclusivamente del grupo de investigadores, sino de los miembros de la comunidad misma. De esta manera se concluyó realizar una intervención con mobiliario urbano, ya que fundamentalmente las áreas públicas no se prestan más que a ciertos usos definidos (deportes en cancha y actividades de congregación bajo techo) y carecen de instalaciones comodas y simples para sentarse, estar, descansar y relacionarse en los exteriores.


La decisión acerca del prototipo que se quería proponer fue tomada luego de realizar varias visitas de campo y notar que las amplias zonas verdes, contaban con un espacio dedicado a un pequeño parque infantil y una cancha, sin embargo no son aprovechados debido a diversos problemas, entre ellos, el de más fácil solución, era resolver la ausencia de un equipo adecuado para zonas de estar. Por lo tanto, se decidió crear un mobiliario funcional y modular que pudiera posteriormente ser replicado por las personas, quedando como un prototipo modelo que la comunidad pudiera construir sola, quando esta necesitara más mobiliario. Tratando de crear un espacio tranquilo, acogedor y seguro para compartir con los niños, se requerían también basureros, para contar con un espacio libre de desechos y que al mismo tiempo educara al reciclaje.


Un desafío inicial, antes de comenzar cualquier proyecto, era hacer que la comunidad conociera cuáles son los bienes comunes. Y, sobre todo, cómo podría transmitirse esta información de una manera que fuera co-construida entre todos.

Los bienes comunes son recursos y redes que sostienen la vida, y aunque su posesión legal puede ser de un cierto grupo o comunidad, o de un individuo, son utilizados por todos y de todos es el beneficio.

Tomando en cuenta de que todo recurso se convierte en común a través de un proceso de trabajo y reglamentación, se quiso dar enfoque en buscar y reconocer los Bienes Comunes con la Comunidad de Cedros, así como posteriormente introducir un conjunto de nuevos bienes que cuidar y reproducir: el mobiliario urbano producido con pallets reciclados como material principal, los cuales fueron implementados según las necesidades de la comunidad.

Los bienes comunes, además de lograr una participación ciudadana y crear conciencia urbana, también ayudan a crear un ambiente de colaboración e igualdad: como se relata en el libro del Peter Linebaugh acerca de “Manifiesto de la Carta Magna” y la Carta del Bosque, ya hace mucho tiempo la humanidad ha buscado generar una sociedad más equitativa, a través de documentos creados para que los bienes comunes fueran preservados y protegidos. Con base en estos textos se ha mostrado como ese legado ha permanecido a través de los años y es nuestra obligación como ciudadanos velar por los bienes comunes, ya que siendo compartidos traen beneficios para todos. De igual manera no sólo se deben de preservar, sino mejorar con ayuda de una estructura comunitaria que, estando en mutuo acuerdo, fomente una buena comunicación y trabajo en equipo. Con ello los bienes pueden ir renovándose con el tiempo y podrían ser utilizados por nuestra sociedad y heredados por las generaciones futuras (Linebaugh, 2008).

Por otro lado, como se aclara en el libro “La carta de los Comunes”, los bienes comunes no solo se traducen en espacio público o, en el caso de nuestra intervención, en mobiliario urbano, si no que van mucho más allá, contemplando los bienes a los que todos tenemos acceso en nuestra vida cotidiana, como lo son el agua, el aire y demás elementos naturales. Es de estos bienes comunes fundamentales que debe surgir la concientización para su uso responsable. Es decir no podemos limitarnos a cuidar las bancas de nuestro parque, si nuestros ríos y mares están llenos de basura. Por esta razón hemos buscado la manera de incentivar el reconocimiento de diferentes tipos de bienes comunes por parte de la población joven de la comunidad, involucrandoles en primera persona en el cuido de estos bienes; para que de una manera más amplia se enfocaran en cuidar no sólo los bienes de la comunidad, si no más allá, un bien de la humanidad como lo es el agua (, 2011).


Dentro de las actividades programadas para lograr este proyecto, el taller fue dirigido a jóvenes de edades entre los 9 y los 16 años. Esto obtuvo una respuesta muy positiva por parte de ellos luego de trabajar en el libro citado anteriormente de la “Carta de los Comunes”. Con esto se logró que ellos entendieran la importancia de una mayor participación y permitió que brotara en ellos, un interés sincero por el cuido de nuestros bienes.


En el desarrollo de este proyecto se observó una respuesta positiva de los miembros de la comunidad para involucrarse en la toma de decisiones. Esto se comprobó en los talleres realizados, como el taller de la fabricación del mobiliario, en el que los jóvenes se mostraron anuentes a colaborar y así se logró aun más incentivar el interés por preservar estos bienes, pues estuvieron involucrados en el proceso tanto de diseño así como el de manufactura, manifestando sentimientos de apropiación de su parte.

Este tipo de actividades desarrolladas en conjunto con los vecinos, generan un impacto tangible en las comunidades, ya que esa actitud suscita interés de otras comunidades cercanas, haciendo que se replique y pueda tener un impacto a nivel de país, y a nivel mundial como parte del programa LabGov, el cual plantea ser una red de esfuerzos locales como el objetivo final de estas acciones.

 Como valor agregado, en el caso de este laboratorio urbano en la Comunidad de Cedros, se pretendió desde el inicio fortalecer y promover la autogestión y no la resolución de un problema puntual por parte de actores externos. Por lo tanto se brindaron las herramientas necesarias para que cualquier ciudadano fuera capaz de repetir o adaptar los modelos propuestos en este prototipo, mediante un manual técnico que fue diseñado para ser “open” y archivos 3D editables, accesibles para toda persona que lo requiera, en el marco del concepto Creative Commons.

Es de suma importancia para la vida urbana lograr la convivencia entre sus ciudadanos mediante el aprovechamiento de los espacios públicos que nos brinda la ciudad. Sin embargo el espacio urbano por sí solo no funciona, pues necesita ser pensado para y por los ciudadanos, usado y cuidado por ellos mismos de forma continua y organica. Por esta razón las intervenciones académicas no son un logro si no un estímulo a revitalizar dichos espacios como nodos sociales.

En Costa Rica, a pesar de la renombrada cultura democrática, las personas todavía se deben empoderar en el tema de derechos y deberes civicos, y lograr ser miembros partícipes y activos de los espacios de la ciudad. Esto se logra mediante la gestión, metodologías y herramientas de participación ciudadana, que den una razón de uso real a dichos espacios. El desarrollo de esta gestión se realizó en coordinación entre el Campus Creativo de la Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, la Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Cedros de Montes de Oca y la Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana, gracias a la participación de la comunidad y de grupos organizados como los Guías y Scouts de Costa Rica.

El programa LabGov de Costa Rica busca involucrar los estudiantes de los cursos de Diseño Urbano en un proceso de investigación y extensión con el fin de experimentar y entender procesos innovativos de diseño urbano, no limitados al dibujo sino a los procesos de gestión participada del diseño. Esto no sólo con el fin de lograr una amplia participación ciudadana y crear una conciencia urbana de cuido y mantenimiento de los Bienes Comunes Urbanos, sino además entender a los estudiantes como investigadores cualitativos y actores integrantes de la comunidad, los cuales pueden y deben involucrarse en proyectos sociales.


Linebaugh, P. (2008). Manifestación de la Carta Magna.

Madrilonia.Org. (2011). Carta de los Comunes.

Costa Rica urban exercises: promotion of the commons, and the right to the city

Costa Rica urban exercises: promotion of the commons, and the right to the city

[…]the concentration of people and events in time and space is a prerequisite to make anything happen, but more importantly are what activities are allowed to develop […]

In Life between buildings[1] are outlined the applications that must exist in the architectural proposals, so that human being begins to appropriate them. By extrapolating this analysis and relying on the concept established in The Right to the City[2], where it is considered that the gentrification caused by urban processes implies an impact on the present and the future of humanity[3]. The construction and strengthening of social structures that complement the dynamics of interaction of the different actors begins to make sense.

This concept of change of social structure is broad and, at the same time, complicated to define by different actors involved in the subject[4] Therefore, related processes that can be articulated from the academy result in the proposal of systematic variables that, far from wanting to intercede to achieve the purpose of a change of structure, what they seek is to detonate a collective process which add to the existing.

Proposal of social integration.

In this search to promote the use of space and social interaction, the approach to the community Barrio Pinto and its surroundings is proposed in the South of the canton of San Pedro de Montes de Oca, in the province of San Jose, Costa Rica; whose radius of action is located between the kilometer close to the Campus of Universidad Latina. This context contains many different realities. On the one hand, the central avenue has an established structure of commerce and services, in addition is the road that connects the center of the country with the Inter-American route, therefore, highly charged with vehicular flow.

This situation disappears entering avenue 2, 4 and 6. Residential use is giving space to the commerce and offices, but that still encloses a residential range that gives life to the parks of his around. This mutation of the space is reflected in the offer of related services between traditional commercial systems, such as tailors, sodas and informal commerce, as well as other emerging elements (biodegradable cleaning products).

Is under these dynamics – between the behavior of the inhabitants of the sector and the users of the services that are beginning to develop in the area – that the interaction between students of the area and the institutions (who are unaware of the processes, routes, services) arises. For example, there is a coffee shop that offers bike rental per hour and per day, as well as the organization of recreational circuits in the sector.

Then, the question arisen is: how to provide a tool to citizenship that allows articulation in the public space between the collective memory of a specific place and emerging uses that change the image of the city?

It is at this point, where the definition of common goods[5] and Collaborative Economy[6] (Cañigueral, 2014), together with the use of the technological tool Agora PIC (Plataforma de Integración Ciudadana, 2017) developed by the NGO team PIC, that these are taken as the basis of the research, to identify the possible elements to be taken into account, and to define a path that provides information on tangible and intangible variables. Trying to unify the social processes of the inhabitants of the sector, with visitors and users of the different activities in the radio, near to the community of Barrio Pinto.

Within the concrete analysis of the peculiarities of the community, the gap that exists between space of the Square Máximo Fernández-  on the north side of Franklin D. Roosevelt School – and El Retiro Park (650 meters Southwest of Máximo Fernández Square) -, as a hub that makes possible the social connection of a situation different from the current, whose goal is immersed, as Gehl points out[7] – is taken into account, to generate not only the space of transition, but of interaction.

Citizen participation has been necessary for the construction of this project. Across workshops and interviews, as well as different visits to the community to establish collaborative and individual services[8], the rescue of collective memory, stories and accounts of the citizen for the visibility of the human and sensory part of the area began, as well as the delimitation of the emerging uses that change the dynamic preset in the area, and generate a social movement toward the appropriation of common space[9].

Conclusion of a job, start of a route.

In conclusion, it is possible to counteract the thinking and analysis of Gehl[10], about the dynamics of use of public spaces, with the contributions of Zaida Muxí and Joseph María Montaner[11] on the substantial changes that surround the phenomenology of the city for the adequate enjoyment and use of the various variables of the Commons. Processes that lead to interpret the change of the image of the city must occur in an intrapersonal way, understanding that this isolated element is part of an articulated social system[12].

On this premise, it is part of this personal relationship, of collective memory and the individual task, for the strengthening of pre-existing social layers. It may not induce a community to take a change in its structure, but it strengthens when an external user can deviate from their daily life to rediscover its immediate context. For this reason, and waiting for the use of the technological tool (Ágora PIC[13]) to boost social skills to community, this intervention has been completed with the start of a journey raised with the student community of the Universidad Latina.

On this basis, we should start from this relationship between the collective memory and the individual task, to strengthen the pre-existing social layers. It is not possible to induce a community to adopt a modification in its structure, but it can be strengthened, when an external user can get away from their everyday life to rediscover their immediate context. For this reason, the use of the Ágora PIC technological tool was envisaged so that it could stimulate the social capacities of community making, ending this intervention with the beginning of a journey through the community.

A circuit that seeks, every four months, that is to say with the opening of the academic semester, to offer the newly admitted student the possibility of knowing their immediate context, and at the same time generate interaction with the dynamics of their area and with its inhabitants. This wants to contribute to the creation of a collective memory and local participatory networks that bring the academy closer to its own territory.

Il progetto pilota del LabGov Costa Rica comincia da esercizi accademici mirati che hanno l’intenzione de rispondere alla domanda: come facilitare uno strumento alla cittadinanza che permetta l’articolazione tra i beni comuni spaziali e la memoria collettiva di un determinato luogo; con una particolare attenzione agli usi emergenti che mutano rapidamente il volto frenetico della capitale e il ricordo di un passato, non troppo passato, campestre e bucolico? Come possiamo conservare la memoria dei beni comuni intangibili promuovendo contemporanemente l’hic et nunc dei commons tangibili attuali?

[1] Gehl, J. (2011). Life between buildings: using public space. Washington, DC: Island Press.

[2] Lefebvre, H. (1973). Le Droit à la ville. Paris: Ed. Anthropos.

[3] Costes, L. (2012). Del ‘derecho a la ciudad’ de Henri Lefebvre a la universalidad. Urban, 1-12.

[4] Lucas, M.A. (2006). Estructura social. La realidad de las sociedades avanzadas. Madrid: Pearson Education.

[5] Fundación Heinrich Böll (2008). Genes, bytes y emisiones: Bienes comunes y ciudadanía. Ciudad de México: Ediciones Böll.

[6] Cañigueral, A. (2014). Vivir mejor con menos. Barcelona: Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial.

[7] Gehl, J. op.cit.

[8] Cañigueral, A. op.cit.

[9] Fundación Heinrich Böll, op.cit.

[10] Gehl, J. op.cit.

[11] Muxí, Z., Montaner, J.M. (2011). Arquitectura y política. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili.

[12] Lucas, M.A. op. cit.