Renovando Mi Entorno (REMEN)
Instructor: Architect Omayra Rivera Crespo and TDC
Collaboration: Antonia Ramos; Collaborative Design Studio
Date: UPR MArch 2013
- Initiative of the leaders of 8 communities
- Community of Buena Vista Santurce, Caño Martín Peña(G8)
- Improving physical and social welfare
- Renovating facades of houses
- Community integration
- Residents face challenges and problems collectively
- Encourage community residents self-esteem
- Improve homes and surroundings
- Promote the integration of community and sense of belonging
- Promote the aesthetic value of the properties
- Promote individual and collective benefits, with short term results, through the active participation of residents
Antonia Ramos Experience:
My participation in this project was one of coordination and facilitate decision-making by residents. This gave me the opportunity to participate with them in the transformation of the space and thus of the social dynamics. In the evaluation, the residents said it was the first time neighbor’s joined to take forward the community, one of the main objectives of REMEN. The union surpassed the sake of painting, including loans of materials, organization to prepare food and celebration activities. Residents were proud of the work done and to belong to this community, and I quote one of the residents “lives up to its name”, Great View!
In this sense, REMEN opens a space for reflection within the practice on how architecture can enhance the transformation of the quality of life of all members of society, including marginalized groups who may not have the financial resources. Personally, I have been allowed to acquire a conceptual and practical experience to better understand and see how it could alter the social paradigms through architectural design.
TOS [VAlicea] Reaction:
It gives me hope to know that, despite the tough times due to social, cultural and economic factors, there are still people, that instead of complaining, assume a proactive attitude. The gesture of these residents is admirable and should be emulated by other communities around the world. We live in an ambitious and self-centered market; a condition that impedes our progress and encourages violence, inequality, injustice, and poverty, among other self-destructive behaviors. As one of the residents expressed, this meeting allowed him to get to know neighbors who lived next to him for years, but they never took the initiative to get to know each other before. I believe that the lack of community union and communication, fosters an unsafe environment that could result in social and physical neglect. Therefore, these gestures give hope of a better future society of integrated communities in the interest of achieving a secure space where they could feel proud and happy to share and exist.