Our proposal for this 24-kilometer, peri-urban stretch of the Chuviscar River recognizes the importance of agricultural systems that helped define Chihuahua. The current proposed plans for the site involve heavy development up to the river’s edge erasing existing agriculture, and proposed dams would permanently change the flow of the river.
Our design focuses on the role of agriculture as a mediating buffer between the river and development. Its purpose is to provide critical community engagement, local food production, and help to protect current and future development from flooding through the use of adaptive green infrastructure.
After a site visit and evaluation we decided on several goals to help direct our redesign of Chihuahua’s largest constructed landscape: provide connective pathways for the communities, promote an active and healthy lifestyle aided by the landscape, improve and preserve ecological function, and examine development opportunities.
One of the river’s most challenging issues is pollution–the river has become a dumping ground. We envisage the river as an valuable asset and our project seeks to turn what is a ‘backyard’ into a ‘front yard’ by pivoting attention towards this connective landscape.
Looking at the health benefits of a community engaged with and cultivating the landscape, our proposal seeks to add eight pedestrian bridges connecting disparate communities across the river and create bike and pedestrian paths along the river connecting Chihuahua with neighboring Aldama. Grassland buffers, bank stabilization, local agriculture, and sustainable practices bring attention to improvement opportunities at citizens’ fingertips.
Through development concentrated on moving people out of the dangerous flood plain, our design proposes the sale of development rights of at-risk properties to higher-ground communities. Public programs such as a cantina trail and ecological monitoring stations help engage the community in participating in the river as a infrastructural resource.
Parque Chuviscar, A Metropolitan Riverfront Park — Alyssa Hassell, William Niendorff, Ningneng Xu
Chihuahua City, Chihuahua, Mexico
Student Design Team | Alyssa Hassell, William Niendorff, Ningneng Xu
Professor | Assistant Professor Gabriel Diaz Montemayor at the University of Texas School of Architecture
Image & Text Credits | Alyssa Hassell, William Niendorff, Ningneng Xu