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Buenos Aires: Designing cities that support tropical forests with Bosques Asociados

Working with professors Elizabeth Vergara and Bettina Mahler at the University of Buenos Aires School of Architecture and Urbanism, Cities4Forests co-created Bosques Asociados, an educational program featuring the Partner Forest concept as a core urban design strategy. Over the course of an academic year, students explore how to best connect the needs of metropolitan Buenos Aires with the conservation needs of tropical forests in Argentina. Municipal officials are involved in course instruction, reviewing student work, and selecting the best ideas for implementation. The course launched in April 2021 and is running again in 2022.

The Partner Forest Program connects cities with tropical forests and communities for mutual benefit and support of forest conservation and restoration strategies. Encouraged by Bosques Asociados, metropolitan municipalities are exploring partnerships with nearby and faraway forests, as students present creative proposals to use forest-positive timber and non-timber products in urban and peri-urban spaces.

 

Student proposals reflect answers to questions including:

 

  • What are the needs and operations of the city region?

  • What are the existing connections between Buenos Aires and tropical forests in Argentina and globally?

  • How is or can the public and public space be engaged in these connections?

  • What is the physical and cultural infrastructure that constitutes a city?

  • How can and should cities respond to the climate change crisis? What types of responsibility, power, and authority do cities have?

  • What is the relationship between biodiversity and cultural diversity, and how can architects respond?

 

Argentina is rich in forests. This heritage is an essential resource for the health and well-being of the population through benefits such as climate regulation, biodiversity, protection of water basins, soil conservation, provision of water, and maintenance of ecosystems. The actions that cities take will be key to meeting climate change goals and protecting the planet. Thus there is an immediate need for design disciplines to use systems thinking and the study of eco-regions to generate material and cultural approaches that conserve and restore forests.

Bosques Asociados Presentation at COP26

Publication of student work in ARQ Clarin, December 2021.