In this second week of our workshop, teams have each taken on one of the four axes of the proposed interior green belt or anillo verde. After two days of visiting the axes, recording observations and analyzing the existing conditions, each group presented their research to the workshop. Though each axis of the anillo has its own set of challenges, groups were able to identify numerous opportunities along their axes for increasing connectivity of pedestrian and bicycle routes, capturing, storing and cleaning storm water, and amending existing open spaces to promote biodiversity within the city.

Work has since focused on the translation of this research and analysis into more specific proposals for key areas in the ring, as well as the creation of a cohesive identity for the axes and the ring as as whole, as a distinctive and coherent open space network.

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The eastern axis (image above) offers an opportunity to express the regional hydrology, connecting to the drainage of water off the mountains in the south and the water courses that flow through the city ending at the Zadorra River in the north. This topographic condition makes this axis of the anillo an excellent place to integrate storm water management infrastructure, such as bioswales and retention areas as part of public space. An agricultural identity has also been proposed for this axis. Linking the interior urban gardens to the farming practices on the city’s periphery. The eastern axis is being seen as a dual corridor with an urban edge that reaches through the proposed anillo and a parallel pedestrian and cycling corridor that will follow traces of a historic rail line and provide a quieter, meandering journey along the axis.

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The western axis (images above), a major urban corridor along the Avenida Gasteiz, offers the opportunity to daylight the Rio Batan – which disappears below the street surface as it moves through this dense area. The city has already begun exploring a plan to bring the river to the street’s surface near the convention center, but is in need of a plan to implement this concept the entire distance between the northern and southern perimeter green belt gateways. Initial analysis of the area led to two gateways in particular being pinpointed for the introduction of the stream into the area: one in the northern part of the corridor and one in the southern part of the corridor. Both of these areas are difficult intersections where car, pedestrian, bike, bus, and even rail traffic must be considered very carefully in conjunction with the introduction of sensitive natural elements. Ultimately, by the end of the week, several design options that best respond to each of these factors will be explored and a detailed master plan for each corridor introducing a fresh urban habitat will be prepared for the city.