1_objetive. Contemporary cities present a wide variety of unresolved issues, as shown by the many different abandoned empty plots and empty buildings existing in the urban fabric. This situation has been taken advantage of by the inhabitants of Zaragoza as an opportunity to intervene directly in the city. The “Estonoesunsolar” programme of Zaragoza City Council, commits to the recovery of PUBLIC SPACE as the backbone of today’s city, through the occupation of empty plots for tremporary public use. “Estonoesunsolar” started off with temporary interventions in abandoned plots in the historical quarter of the city, of public and private ownership. Later, given their great success, they spread to the rest of the city.The programme offers a quick answer to the needs of each neighbourhood, analysing the socio-economic conditions, amenities and green spaces that already exist, as well as the deficiencies of each area. Social cohesion is favoured through citizen participation processes. At the same time, many different cultural and educational activities have been carried out that emphasise the value of the interventions, inviting citizens to experience these spaces. The program’s initial goal was to develop an Employment Plan, which should involve 50 workers for cleaning empty plots of the Historic Center of Zaragoza. On that premise, it raised the possibility of developing a set of proposals, that beyond strictly complying with the objectives, allowed the temporary occupation of the empty plots, offering a range of temporary uses for these frequently misunderstood places.. These proposals start from the program “everyday gaps (los vacíos cotidianos),” held in 2006 within the framework of “en la frontera (on the edge)” of Zaragoza, in which the same authors were able to begin testing the ideas about the temporary occupation of sites, this time in an “artistic” context, with different constraints but holding the same concepts.
2_ the accident. The proposals arise from the observation of different and numerous existing sites in the context of Zaragoza historic city center, assumed as unexplained gaps in many cases (and surprising in most of them). In some of the sites, the demolition of a small wall has been enough for a sudden vacuum to appear, showing cold in their nakedness, out of context, and that surprisingly opens up new visuals, hidden until then, to create a new contemporary urban space. There is a reading of the city with the codes of an “non-written urbanism“, spontaneous in some cases, and consolidated in others. In this regard, and given that applications are developed following studies of needs demanded by associations and neighbours, it is a flexible tool to start responding to specific problems.
3_the vacuum. Value has been put in the suggestion of emptiness, the void, the invisible and silence. These temporary loosening of the plot is a dynamic tool, changing (temporarily), allowing a flexible and alternative reading of the city and the public spaces. It aims for non-material and ethereal solutions , expressing the provisional nature of its presence and establish a dialectic with their in-built environments. Vacuum is hoped to be the creator of situations and events.
4_the name. From the outset it was considered essential to find a name for the interventions, which give meaning to a program without program, without a property owner, to a un built site, to a nameless space. The program was called “estonoesunsolar”(this-is-not-an-empty-site). It was desired to escape from the constraints imposed by words and their meanings, with the intention from the beginning, to propose a new look (this is not a site, this is not what it looks like, look at it with different eyes …). In short, it was an invitation to think again, to imagine possible contents, to propose new situations and create passionate places (to make a privileged place from every idea). (more…)