Campus and Community

Project developed by Técnico students improved life in Areeiro

“Estaciona-te” was a finalist project under the “Areeiro Empreende” programme, promoted by Areeiro Parish Council in partnership with Instituto Superior Técnico.

The idea behind “Estaciona-te”, a public space project that aimed to improve public spaces and support local commerce in Areeiro, is simple but extremely rich. The finalist project, under the “Areeiro Empreende” programme, was developed by the Técnico students Raquel Teixeira dos Santos, Elzbieta Hamadyk and Rui Colares de Oliveira. The Areeiro community was invited to socialize, to contact with artists and local traders and to participate in the life of Areeiro Parish Council. “This was an opportunity to expand, in a real context, some knowledge acquired during the Architecture course at Técnico, specifically concerning public spaces. This was also the result of a MSc thesis of one of the team members”, explains Raquel Teixeira dos Santos, the team leader. “In fact, our objective was also to meet the goals of Areeiro Parish Council, namely civic participation, local commerce and green cities”, stresses the team leader.

Técnico students invited people to use modular urban furniture to socialize, to wait for someone or to simply enjoy a different and welcoming space instead of the typical park benches. “It was possible to test a total or partial absence of benches, the car noise from the main streets, the wide dimension of the sidewalks, the lack of barriers between the road and the sidewalk, and the local businesses”, stresses Raquel Teixeira dos Santos.

The 5 modular urban furniture was placed in 5 key locations in Areeiro – Praça de Londres, Praça Francisco Sá Carneiro (2 different places), Alameda and Avenida de Roma – during 3 months, from 27th June to 1st October. “There was an increased communication between acquaintances, but also between strangers”, underlines Raquel Teixeira dos Santos. In addition, the project also allowed a greater work sharing activities between the local traders. “These activities have been quite diverse: reading, sports, art, sewing, health and well-being,” recalls the team leader.

According to Raquel Teixeira dos Santos, direct and indirect contact with the population was “one of the most positive aspects of the project. People’s feedback was also very good. The project had a positive impact on the population”, says Raquel Teixeira dos Santos.

Técnico students learnt from this experience and understood what it means “to put a real project into practice”, with an impact on people, with unexpected situations, with the ability to adapt so that it can evolve positively. “In fact, not everything went exactly as planned, but above all, we know that the obstacles have been overcome successfully and we have the ambition to do more and better for people, by creating more suitable spaces and a more human city”.