The MIT team traveled to Concepcion, Chile in May of 2023 for a workshop and presentations with the City Science Lab @ Biobío. The event was called Explorando Soluciones Locales para Retos Globales: Re-imaginado la Costanera de Concepción and included a keynote talk by Luis Alonso at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, a Q and A with Kent Larson and project stakeholders at the Universidad Catolica in Santiago, and presentations from MIT speakers, City Lab Biobío speakers and other collaborators hosted at the Universidad del Biobío in Concepcion.
In addition, teams also hosted a two day workshop at the Virginio Gomez Academy in Concepcion. Brainstorming groups included community members from the Costanera, members of the MIT City Science team, team members from City Lab Biobío and Corporacion Ciudades, academics from across Concepcion and individuals from industry and the private sector. The below text provides an overview of the workshop vision. We also included excerpts from the workshop report which was created by the Biobío lab, a link to the full report and a link to the City Science Lab @ Biobío website with more information.
The city, our greatest invention, will be at the center of solutions to global warming, public health, and economic development. The most recent U.N. IPCC report makes this clear: “Urban areas represent 67-72% of global emissions… How new cities and towns are designed, constructed, managed, and powered will lock-in behavior, lifestyles, and future urban GHG emissions.’’ Urban communities can lead in a bottom-up process that may be even more impactful than top-down government action.
Biobío is one of the most important regions of the country. After Santiago, the metropolitan area of Greater Concepción is the second urban conglomerate in the country with a population of approximately 1 million inhabitants (Census, 2017). In addition to this, the region is one of the main concentrators of important economic activities. Inside it houses items as diverse as the iron and steel industry, traditional agriculture, the pulp industry, forestry, electricity generation, port activity, etc. Being a space of great relevance for history, culture and the arts, Biobío not only concentrates important centers of university education, but also has wide spaces in the development of the native cultures of Chile, with a large presence of the Mapuche population and Pehuenche, clear examples of the mixture in the conformation of this region.
As the newest member of the City Science Network, City Science Lab @ Bíobio strives to create a more livable, equitable and sustainable future for communities throughout the region. In this workshop, the Costanera de Concepción sector will be analyzed looking back and thinking about the future. This is an historical space of interaction between the city and the river, composed of the Pedro del Río, Aurora de Chile and Pedro de Valdivia neighborhoods. Teams explore essential needs and systems to propose new innovations, ideas and potential paths forward.
“The workshop "Exploring local solutions for global challenges: Re-imagining the Costanera de Concepción" seeks to address the most important challenges for the neighborhoods that make up the sector, exploring and analyzing a vision of the future. The objective of the workshops is for its participants to develop new ways of thinking about dimensions such as transportation and connectivity, as well as public space, to increase the urban vitality of the neighborhoods, and to analyze opportunities for the Costanera de Concepción.”
Brainstorming topics included:
Mobility and Transportation
Housing and Social Inclusion
Cultural Life and Recreation
Environment and Health
“The workshop…allowed for the creation of an instance of collaboration and deepening of various challenges in the neighborhoods of the Costanera de Concepción. Through the various tools, and with the valuable participation of community members and representatives of various sectors, numerous proposals were collected to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants and promote the Costanera as a meeting space for all citizens. The results obtained from this work will allow guiding a vision of the future for the modeling of this territory. In addition, proposing new urban solutions, in order to contribute to the development of more sustainable and habitable communities.”