The San Francisco IV and IV-A housing complexes belong to a set of public housing projects which INFONAVIT is trying to revamp by the revitalization of its common areas.
INFONAVIT had previously released a document in which a diagnosis was made for each of the complexes. However, the strategies and lines of action for this improvement project were informed mostly by a participatory approach that was used with the neighbors and residents of these buildings. These lines of action were aimed at providing spaces for children to play, gathering spots, appropriate maintenance, more greenery, accessibility for all, and a space to entice community participation.
We found two important issues in the current state of the complexes. First, there is no apparent reason for why the neighbors do not use the common areas. Second, there are a lot of kids living in these complexes. Our approach of using play as a way to encourage the use of these common grounds stems from these two issues.
Thus, just as in a constellation, a variety of landscape and hardscape elements are placed along the common areas, with a larger concentration being placed closer to the units’ entrances.
We envisioned children making up games that employ these hardscape elements, and grown ups watching over them and those who walk by, residents getting together at the gathering spots while new trees provide ample shade. Hardscape elements such as ramps are included to provide universal access. Finally, adequate maintenance and “neighbor participation zones” are proposed as part of the plan. In these participation arenas, the main goal would be to instill in people the knowledge needed in order to take care of a garden or a park.