The Plaza de Juan XXIII, the City Hall, the King, José Hierro Boulevard ... these public spaces in Cartagena have served as the basis for the thesis of the architect María del Mar Melgarejo, who has worked as a professor of industrial design and projects in the Industrial Engineering degree at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena.
After analyzing about twenty public areas in the port city, which have served as a model to compare similar cities, Melgarejo says that the design is "irrelevant" when designing this type of space, as it is convenient to consider another type of environmental conditions, such as the economic and social context or the usefulness of space, among others.
As detailed in her work, urban design has had "little influence" on the daily use of it by the inhabitants of the city, so she has tried to find the keys to the operation of urban public space to lay the foundations on How to act on it.
The work, called 'Model of intervention in the public space of the historic city based on the parametric analysis of its transformations, functionality and environmental quality.
Case study of the city of Cartagena ', has been directed by professors José María Ezquiaga, from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and Miguel Centellas, from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena.
Among the conclusions he draws, he emphasizes that the incidence of the design of public space in the old town in a medium-sized city such as Cartagena, "is smaller" than other types of variables such as urban, social and economic structure and the historical formation of these spaces.
Melgarejo points out that the socio-economic context and the incorporation of a space within the city's internal circulations influence "directly in which a space is used", while other types of variables associated with environmental, accessibility, and environmental values. use "positively influence public space, and are essential for its proper functioning, but do not guarantee success. Therefore, when addressing a public space project it is necessary to work with these factors before developing a complex design project and isolated from what really happens in the city, "says the architect.
To complete the work, Melgarejo studied 20 spaces in the city center such as Alcolea square, Juan XXIII square, López Pinto square, Jaime Bosch + Isidoro Valverde square, Merced square, José Hierro boulevard, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, the Risueño square, the San Francisco square, the Molinete archeological park, the Par, the Plaza del Rey, the Torres Park, the Wall of the Sea, the Alfonso XII Pier, the Town Hall square and Heroes of Cavite, the CIM square, the Cornisa park, the Batel square and the San Sebastián and Puertas de Murcia square.
The teacher explains that the historic center of Cartagena has about twenty public spaces, but that each of them has a different history, design, morphology and behaviors.
"Many of them are successful and people come to use it and visit it and others do not," he says.
However, it perceives that those most visited spaces are places with memory and in many occasions symbolic, since they were created during the growth of the city and are considered historical places.
T They are also easily accessible and its space is enjoyed by a variety of users with different profiles that take advantage of the space for all kinds of uses and variety, from games for children to the multitude of terraces of the bars that colonize its surface.
In addition to this, they are thermally and acoustically comfortable spaces.
In addition, it indicates that there are other characteristics that do not guarantee the success of these spaces such as acoustic and thermal comfort, accessibility, and the offer of uses that occur.
For example, for a space to be interesting for citizens, it must be pleasant to be in it from an environmental point of view, to be comfortable acoustically and thermally;
but it may happen that a space is designed fulfilling these characteristics and for other reasons the space is not visited by people.
The thesis demonstrates, therefore, the author affirms that "to understand the public space is to understand the people who inhabit it, to know who they are, what they do when they are there and why they use it", something that must be taken into account Time to address any architectural project.