Interview with Lorena Vecslir
As we gear up for the launch of our masters program this fall, in the following weeks we’ll be introducing some of our stellar faculty members in a series of exclusive short and sweet interviews that tell us a bit more about these seasoned urban practicioners; from personal favorites to snippets of advice to young urbanism students.
Today we introduce Lorena Vecslir, architect, urban planner, researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council and member of the Territorial Development and Metropolitan Studies Program at the Institute of Geography (UBA), who focuses on territorial transformations of Buenos Aires and the restructuring of metropolitan centralities.
Before we begin…
Your specialty: Recent territorial transformations and urban regions reconfiguration
What will you bring to the course Regenerating Intermediate Landscapes? A intentional look at new processes and morphologies of metropolitan transformation, particularly in relation to main roads and highway landscapes, and the exploration of new tools and guidelines for their restructuring and development.
What do you think differentiates this masters course from other lines of urban study/practice? The contemporary problematic of study, the intermediate scale of approach, and a methodology oriented to practice and urban intervention without neglecting theoretical discussions.
1. A model city, or one you would choose to live in: Although I don’t consider them model cities, I have a very strong bond with Barcelona and Buenos Aires. In fact, I believe they are especially complementary and representative of the successes and contradictions of their building societies.
2. Favorite urbanism books: Il territorio che cambia. Ambienti, paesaggi e immagini della regione milanese, by Stefano Boeri, Arturo Lanzani and Edoardo Marini (AIM-Abitare Segesta, 1993).
3. Something you like and dislike about [city you live in]: Buenos Aires. I like its urban fabric heterogeneity advantages–mixed use, social diversity, formal richness…and I dislike its problems–sight party walls, activities incompatibility, excessive density…
4. When you aren’t working, you most enjoy: Traveling
5. The biggest challenge architects and urban planners face today: The search for balance between flexibility and urban control, between social participation and individual (market) decisions.
6. One of your projects that you are most proud of: The research focused on the “New geographies of production and consumption in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona” (Cátedra de Urbanística, ETSAV, UPC) that became part of previous studies for the current Territorial Metropolitan Plan of Barcelona.
7. A recent example of successful urban regeneration: Puerto Madero (1989-2005) is an example of a large urban fragment renewal, unique in Buenos Aires and the result of a private-public initiative, whose positive impacts are reflected in the consolidation and extension of the traditional central city area.
8. An example of failed urban regeneration: The second phase of the same intervention shows the weakening of management tools on behalf of the private sector, preventing the use of capital gains to the provision of local facilities, road connections and public transport improvements, or social housing inclusion.
9. An urban planner or other professional whose work you admire, and why: Antonio Font, for his academic generosity, seriousness and commitment to urban planning, as well as his renewed vision of the metropolitan city.
10. A piece of advice for the future generation of urban planners: To advance knowledge in contemporary territorial situations for which no coded disciplinary response exists. In the words of Antonio Font, “it is increasingly clear that standardized technical solutions cannot be applied to little-known processes, and that most times, the fundamental problem lies in formulation of the problem which intends to be solved.”