Barbara Pons Giner (43 years old) is an architect and consultant in sustainable planning and landscaping. She has been giving classes in MCH since 2012.
Can you summarize the content of the classes or workshops that the masters have?
I have participated in workshops in which the ratio of housing projects with landscaping, with large scales and urban sustainability in its broadest sense, are analyzed.
Could you summarize in one sentence the main idea that you want to convey to your students?
Urban Sustainability is a concept that should focus on multiple scales, and the metropolitan scale is the most important because it is the scale at which ecosystems depend on the span of urban life.
Why is it so important to study this masters?
Collective Housing is the fundamental unit of the city. This field is living a transcendent process for the sustainability of the global urbanization of the planet. Any decision on any scale in the dense urban context is critical to the well-being and quality of life of the citizens.
Understanding these concepts and the techniques used to produce sustainable collective housing (at all levels) is one of the most important tasks that architects have, and will have in the present and immediate future.
What kind of job opportunities can you find in Collective Housing?
From traditional outlets that work on studies projecting collective housing, to the skills to planning urban areas where housing is located and regulated in an efficient and sustainable manner, to training to manage or plan buildings and residential projects of all scales in public administration. This last option will be especially relevant in the administrations of the developing world, where it will build 95% of global urban growth in the next 35 years, and where you should plan urban land and housing for more than 2,000 million new urbanites expected arrive in cities, mainly in Asia and Africa.
Tell us in more detail about projects related to the masters field that you are now working on.
In the last two years I have been working on a study about the regeneration of urban river corridors in dense urban environments of Latin America, as well as the Initiative for Emerging and Sustainable Cities of the Inter American Development Bank. In this paper we have analyzed models of planning and management of the coastal areas that can transform urban degradation trends in many developing cities and generate positive synergies in the dynamics of creating sustainable cities.
The focus is on improving the water quality of rivers and creating river parks along the banks, but it also includes the regeneration of nearby urban environments by improving resilience to natural disasters (flooding) and improving the quality of life of residential and commercial environments near rivers.
This projects includes the perspective of small scale (urban projects) as large scale (metropolitan planning and management of the watershed where rivers meet) in the approach to research, since the combination of both scales is absolutely necessary to ensure that the urban fabric is regenerating from sustainable environmentally, socially and above all economically sound sources.
In fact, one of the conclusions of the study is that there are adequatereasons to prioritize urban regeneration around rivers, allowing dense near-central urban areas to become areas of high quality landscape conditions in Latin America, improving the overall resilience of the city. And all this is also economically viable if local governments are provided with appropriate regulations to capture the capital gains generated by these urban regeneration projects, working with the private sector to promote free and subsidized housing in multifunctional environments well-connected with public transport.