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Una Cancha Muchas Canchas

Guatemala City is the largest city of Guatemala. It's the largest city in Central America, and is home to more than 2.5 million people. Guatemala City's population has grown drastically since the 1970s with the influx of indigenous migrants from the outlying departments and foreigners. Because of its rapid growth, it experienced extreme growing pains such as transportation saturation, availability of potable water, and an increase in crime. Although it’s infrastructure continues to grow, it lags behind in relation to the population explosion, resulting in a tough urban environment lacking adequate areas of leisure and recreation. Although soccer is our most popular sport, there is little governmental investment in new facilities that cope with the population demands. As a result, street-ball has become immensely popular with city dwellers. In 2000, Guatemala City hosted the FIFA Futsal World Championship and in 2008 the CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Futsala (as indoor is known in Spanish) is the most played sport in the city. The Buró de Intervenciones Públicas (BIP) wants to generate a network of urban futsal fields within the city. Our innovative proposal will create 12 urban pitches on city streets. Each field will be placed in low-traffic inner city streets, and will incorporate meaningful light sources and traffic-calming-mechanisms, generating adequate urban conditions for citizen appropriation. Similar to mix-used street proposals, the project aims to protect our streets from traffic, create better living conditions, promote soccer, and promote health. Through the activation of spaces, we hope to add joy to our harsh urban environment by encouraging citizen interaction. Thus, we’d not only be promoting the best sport on Earth, but we’d also be improving the living conditions of hundreds, if not thousands, of inhabitants. We have already acquired city permissions and permits, professional design collaborations, and most importantly citizen interest.

Who is the sponsoring organization?

Buró de Intervenciones Públicas (BIP). The Buró de Intervenciones Públicas, BIP (Bureau of Public Interventions, BIP), is a collaborative project by Stefan Benchoam and Christian Ochaita that originated as a direct response to the lack of public spaces and infrastructures for recreation and socialization in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Their work incorporates various elements of architecture, art, design, and urbanism, hoping to modify the way in which citizens relate with the open spaces of their cities. Their projects encourage the use of public spaces through playful elements and unusual occurrences, and are developed through their collaboration with other artists, collectives and people in general. The interventions and occurrences that they organize can be read as Situationistiii gestures that generate reflection and debate about their city.

Where will the project be located?

Guatemala City, Guatemala, Guatemala

12 locations around Guatemla City's lowest income neighberhoods.. The project will be located in 12 different low-income residential areas (city-slums/favelas) around the city. The proposed sites for the fields are to be city streets. This reinterpretation of Guatemalan streets takes into account the immense value that the streetscape plays in high-density residential urban environment that lacks proper recreational facilities. Location map will be finalized if proposal is accepted; these proposed locations would be chosen for various criteria, which include: social, economic, and cultural disadvantages, increased population density, and lack of leisurely infrastructure that should be provided by both the central government and the municipal authorities.

Do facilities at the location need to be constructed or upgraded?

Yes. The twelve futsala fields need to be site-specifically designed and built. Each field installation will cost an estimated $2,000 and will include fluorescent pavement floor lines, two small movable goal posts traffic calming speed bumps behind each end of the field and vertical and horizontal signage to delimit the area. The project already has the support of the city planning commission and a few neighborhood groups who have been approached with the idea. All material for the proposal will be local to keep cost down.

Are any further architectural or design services required?

Yes. Architectural assistance from architects, designers, artists, and experts in informal (everyday)-urbanism will be pursued, as we believe it would prove to be beneficial for the project itself. However the BIP team members already have professional design and construction knowledge needed to implement the proposal.

Would this project benefit from the assistance of construction professionals?

Yes. The project will need the assistance from the construction professionals whose services can be attained in Guatemala. The project will employ local masons for all the skilled labour working under the professional guidance of BIP.