Barrio 31 in Buenos Aires Holds Universal Truths About Informal Urban Places

A study of a poorer neighborhood in Buenos Aires reveals that a delicate balance of design, public space, planning, and access are keys to success.
January 22, 2018, 2pm PST | snewberg | @JoeUrbanist
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Alexandr Vorobev

Gehl Architects was recently invited to Buenos Aires to analyze urban design and social characteristics of Villa 31, a poorer neighborhood in that city, with the goal of making intelligent decisions to improve conditions and opportunity for residents there. What Gehl found is successful cities combine a blend of planning and organic growth to become successful, and the greatest places in cities are often a result of informal processes.

Five important findings were presented in a recent article in Next City. They are: proximity matters, a neighborhood can be dense and human scale, streets can be joyful and safe public spaces, flexible architecture breeds economic opportunity, and personality shapes place. These universal truths shouldn't come as surprise to readers, but should reinforce the idea of planning as fixing those things that require change as well as leaving well enough alone.

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Published on Monday, January 1, 2018 in Next City
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