The socio-territorial development of the metropolitan area of Coquimbo and La Serena has been shaped by its accelerated demographic and urban growth. A conurbation has resulted from the densification of urban centers due to an increase in the population and the subsequent expansion of the metropolitan periphery. As a result, residential and employment areas are segregated: the service sector is concentrated in the city center, while residential and industrial uses have been pushed to the periphery and there is an increase in socio-spatial segregation. However, within the urban system of La Serena and Coquimbo, natural spaces are central to the territorial configuration; their protection and revival is an opportunity to revitalize and reconnect fragmented urban areas. At the metropolitan level, a special importance has been given to a group of natural landmarks on the coastal border, the mountain range surrounding the metropolitan area, and the traversing network of green corridors.
Although the Rio Elqui is an important component of the natural and urban landscapes of La Serena, it has not been incorporated as a relevant element in its urban development. For this reason, we saw the need to address and integrate the complex borders between the urban, rural, and natural areas. Towards the southern bank of the river, developed with its back to the Elqui, lies the protected historic center. On the northern bank, despite the change in topography, the urban fabric has expanded into the extensive neighborhood of Las Compañías.
To the south, El Culebrón enters the city from the west as a stream, extends as an estuary and gives way to a wetland near the littoral. Surrounding it are several neighborhoods, including San Juan, whose inhabitants have an important cultural identification with El Culebrón creek. In this case, the UDL focused specifically on the area known as Parque El Culebrón next to the San Juan neighborhood, where we found a greater concentration of activities and appropriation by local residents—making it a strategic public space that could potentially benefit the wider community.
December, 2015 to April, 2016
Authors: Tamara Egger, Marion Frotzbacher, Dominique Mashini, Andreas Hofer, Roland Krebs, Peter Scheibstock, Tugyan Ertürk