PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN
Client: Ajuntament de Palma
Program: Design of a new waterfront along the harbor area of Palma.
Scope: Competition for schematic design, construction document and construction administration.
Palma has set itself the challenge of transforming a barrier, a border, into a new urban space that connects the city with the port. This project proposes a transition in the way of understanding this public space, from conceiving it as a linear “walkway” to seeing it as a wider maritime “front”, a place where the city can expand its uses and discover new ones.
Our proposal seeks to create a qualified space, a civic axis capable of reflecting the city’s identity, providing a representative value and, above all, adding actual value of use for citizens and visitors. It is not, therefore, only a project of pacification and renaturalization, but of characterization and activation.
The general approach of the project can be broken down into a series of criteria or lines of action. These lines have been grouped into four “fronts” (integrated, environmental, active and connected) understood as layers of the waterfront that synthesize the priorities of the proposal and illustrate the vision of the city that underlies it.
The integrated front refers mainly to mobility and accessibility. It provides solutions committed to the sustainability, security, and friendliness of public spaces. This integration requires a critical look at the physical or infrastructure level as well as the levels of management and services.
The pacification of road traffic and the longitudinal continuity of routes for bicycles and pedestrians are assumed as fundamental criteria. At the same time, parking spaces are reduced and concentrated. On the other hand, public transport is considered in an integrated and multimodal way, connecting with other ways of transport, both terrestrial and maritime. Transversal connections are also increased at the pedestrian level, seeking to give greater access to the surrounding neighborhoods.
The environmental improvement goes beyond the idea of renaturation, incorporating not only criteria for sustainable and bioclimatic design but also an understanding of the “environmental” from the point of view of perception, attractiveness, and comfort.
The combination of natural elements (vegetation, water, breeze, light, etc.) and artificial elements (shade, forced ventilation, diffusers, lighting, etc.) will contribute to creating environments or atmospheres with their own character, achieving variations in luminosity, ventilation, scent, humidity, and other parameters.
The environmental layer is, therefore, the basis for the construction of the identity of the entire seafront, and especially of its active nodes or squares.
This front attends to the activation of the public space. The aim is to diversify and increase urban life throughout the day, the week and the year, whether from the incorporation of existing uses or the introduction of new ones that complement them.
The objective is to diversify and increase urban life throughout the day, the week and the year, either from the incorporation of existing uses or the introduction of new ones that complement them. To this end, we propose the creation of spaces that facilitate the appearance and realization of diverse activities, going beyond the linear conception of a seafront promenade. A balance is sought at all times between the attraction of visitors or tourists and the quality of life of residents and neighbors of Palma.
The connected front adds a whole new dimension through the careful introduction of digital technology into public space. Sensors, actuators, and markers are connected to a platform that proposes new ways of interacting with public space, obtaining information from it, or even adapting it to one’s own needs or getting involved in its development.
Trying to give depth to the “smart cities” concept and bringing it closer to “smart citizens”, the implementation of a people-oriented “digital layer” is proposed, aimed at improving and amplifying the experience of using public space, and multiplying its possibilities.
The digital platform would be formed by a series of elements:
- Sensors, which would allow real-time readings of public space (comfort, activity, environment).
- Actuators, which would allow certain conditions of the public space to be modified at will (changing lighting, unlocking furniture).
- Markers, such as QR codes, RFID tags or WiFi access points with a captive portal, which would facilitate access to the digital layer from public space.
- An app for visualization and interaction: a mobile-friendly web app with geolocation capacity, which would give access to all available information and to different possibilities of interaction with the environment or with other people.