Organization Name: Paisaje Transversal
Iñaki Romero Larrea is a Spanish architect, but thinks of himself as an urbanist first and foremost. He believes in order to create a vibrant city that works against political and economic factors of redevelopment, you must involve citizens and have community participation. With input from the community living in and residents of the neighborhood, better architecture and urban development can be achieved.
Larrea is a part of a group called Paisaje Transversal, which is an upstart collective based in Madrid and founded by multidisciplinary design professionals, including Larrea himself. The group’s mission is “working to cultivate — and empower — a grassroots community of people interested in urban planning in their own backyards” (Larrea, Ideas.Ted.com). The work of Paisaje Transversal believes in incorporating people’s opinions and needs into design, architecture, and urban planning.
Paisaje Transversal tested it’s methodology first with a working-class neighborhood that is known as the neighborhood of stairs, natively (in Spanish): el barrio de escaleras. Transversal spoke with the residents who lived there about the challenges and struggles of living in an area that was connected and available mostly by stairs. This was difficult for older people, women with strollers, and disabled people living there. Transversal constructed a rehabilitation plan for this neighborhood including ramps to connect areas where there are now only stairs.
This type of integrative designing and re-designing of urban spaces is a more efficient way to create sustainable and strong communities. Building and designing around people causes spatial issues, isolation, and other difficulties. Building and designing with people allows solutions to be built into the new or re-created space.
This article, about Larrea, for TED Ideas explains his story more and the work Paisaje Transversal did with the “neighborhood of stairs” and other areas of Madrid.