#rEAvivaJaén | Jaén, Spain | Estudio Atope Architects

Urban Action #positEA, using the square and promoting heritage (Photography: Gema Luque Higueras)

#rEAvivaJaén is being developed in Jaén (in the south of Spain) since April 2013. It is a project that is based on citizen participation in order to regenerate the Historic Downtown of Jaén by means of special events, ephemeral transformations and activities that weave a continuous project for revitalising these historic neighbourhoods.

When studying in depth its old city, it appears that it has been practically forgotten by institutions and neighbours: there are too many plots and houses in very bad conditions and non-existent uses for tertiary sector, especially public areas.

The used methodology is based on collaboration between technical and social experiences, producing this way a new kind of learning where, the organization of the neighbours and the exchange of knowledge, promote innovation and social action in neighbourhoods.

The project injects life into specific places, promoting as much civic energy as needed to create chain reactions that revitalize the environment, in which the citizens are able to organize themselves. These points will be places for imagination where the users will complete the process of urban planning and design.

The main goals are:
– To spread the heritage (tangible and intangible) of the city into their citizens as well as into the tourists
– To work on the street recycling places for resting, leisure time and urban coexistence
– To regenerate urban tissue from empty plots and houses in a critical situation:
– urban infrastructures adapted to each neighbourhood through municipal and neighbours support: public, recreational, sport and educational places
– increase Public Areas with low-cost ephemeral installations
– recover part of the culture, including urban farms

At the moment, Estudio Atope has depeloved three #UrbanActions:

#verdEA was the first #UrbanAction of the project, and consisted on an ephemeral transformation in the square #PlazaCambil, which is usually occupied by cars. During the Sunday morning of April 7th, urban functions that currently do not exist in this place were generated. For example, outdoor activities that could be enjoyed by children, as well as elders, were encouraged. Also, a debate about the situation of the Historic Downtown was initiated, promoting of this way the critical thinking of the citizens and their implication with the city.

PlazaCambil in an usual day (Montage: @estudioatope)
Urban Action #verdEA (Photography: Inma Martínez Castillo)

#positEA was the second #UrbanAction in #PlazadelaMagdalena. We made an emotional plan with the residents of this neighbourhood (especially with the children) that aimed to restore an essential activity to the urban landscape: the ability to use public spaces. The urban space is not only an empty wrapping, Public Areas exist only when they are used ( ). Besides, with this action the important patrimonial legacy that exists in this area is amplified, encouraging citizen participation through different ways of expression more visible and accessible for everyone.


Urban Action #positEA, using the square and promoting heritage (Photography: @estudioatope)
Emotional Plan creation during the Urban Action #positEA (Photography: Gema Luque Higueras)

#crEAsanAndrés was an Architecture Workshop with the students of San Andrés School (in the ancient Jewish quarter of Jaén) to regenerate one of the plots close to the school. In this workshop, an educational and creative space was generated, promoting skills and abilities of the students, such as their imagination, observation, teamwork, respect for the city, the environment and the people surrounding us. All this with an important message: citizens can change their cities through citizen achievements and little transformations based on local innovation (bottom-up strategies).

They learnt concepts like city, history, citizen participation, sustainability, culture, urbanism, identity, ephemeral transformations, etcetera, through the Architecture and Heritage.
It is really important that children know that we have to work for the conservation of the heritage because it is our legacy for future generations.

Plot in the Jewish quarter (Montage: @estudioatope)
#crEAsanAndrés, students working on the model of one plot in the Jewish quarter (Photography: @estudioatope)

The objective of the project #rEAvivaJaén is to generate urban functions that currently do not exist, life scenes where neighbours interact with the place where they live, feeling it closer because they participate in developing changes. New conscience arises making us see that we are intermediates between the things that we receive and the things that leave behind.

#crEAsanAndrés, students working on the model of one plot in the Jewish quarter (Photography: @estudioatope)


Location | Jaén (Spain)
Design Firm | Estudio Atope Architects
Consultants María Toro Martínez (Architect), Luis Peláez Aguilera (Architect), Inma Martínez Castillo (Architect and Photographer), Gema Luque Higueras (Photographer)

Image Credit | as noted