Arequipa by the Sea: A New Town Project

Spring 07Prof. Rodolfo MachadoT.A. Sharif Kahatt Arequipa by the sea: a new town projectIntroduction:To situate the studio\’s pedagogic agenda (or to place in a wider frame of intellectual inquiry), it should be mentioned that it continues with an investigation of a series of new urban problems produced by globalization: such was the case of the Spring 05 Budapest Studio (how to design a new central district – a real state development- after 50 years of communist rule), and also of the Spring 06 Dubai Studio (the production of new typologies in a context of unprecedented urban self-invention).This term\’s urban problem is the urbanization of special economic free zones (SEFZ), or how to generate a complete, varied, rich, and contemporary local urbanity in conjunction with a generic global program: the SEFZ (a zone that, in itself, also needs revision or reinvention).The Site: Approximately 5,000 Has of virgin desert land with a 20 km long Pacific Ocean coastal front. The land is located 100 km South of Arequipa, the second largest Peruvian city, with a population of 1,000,000 inhabitants and a growing metropolitan area.More importantly for this project, the Pan American Highway, a major North/South inter-American highway, runs between Arequipa and the site of the new town.Planning:Two major infrastructural interventions will be built by the Government(s) and will make the SEFZ possible: a mega-port, Puerto Punta Corio (at the center of the site), and a new East/West highway, the Inter-Oceanic, connecting Brazil and Bolivia to the Pan American Highway and to the port at the site. In addition, at the planning level there is an overriding desire to develop tourism at the coast, at both the national and the global scale; thus turning Arequipa by the sea into a destination. This will, in turn, make Puerto Corio a more desirable, more competitive international zone.At the economic planning level, the selection of Puerto Corio\’s location as the site for a multi-national cluster of information technology facilities (IT) implies a belief in Latin America as the new emerging market for technology and electronics.Program:A rudimentary program exists for the new town based on the assumption that it will house 50,000 workers plus their families, with an estimated total of about 200,000 residents. Internationalism of the work force is also a goal here: it is expected that workers will come from all Latin American countries, which are future markets where products manufactured in-situ will be distributed.To these, other programs hybridizing the SEFZ are to be added, such as resorts, hotels, fishing piers, offices, a high-end medical center, etc.Sponsorship and site visit:This studio is sponsored by Rio Seco Holdings, Inc. a development corporation based in California. They have commissioned a master plan for their project, which will be evaluated by the students. Space Group has executed the MP; this is a prestigious Seoul based Korean planning, urban design and architecture firm. The official name of their project is \’\’Miramar\’\’.Regarding the site visit, a trip to Peru will take place from Saturday February 10th to the 16th.The cost of air tickets and hotel accommodations are kindly covered by the Sponsor.Problems:The problem posed by the design of new towns has a long history within architecture. The Renaissance discourse on the ideal city claims it as an architectural problem, as does Modern Architecture in the early 20th century. Late 20th century Postmodernism, not believing in erasing existing cities, or in \’\’nature\’\’ as the site of new towns (not really believing in the possibility of good new towns or in the value of invention) abandons the subject. It is again now, for many reasons, a very