Case Study 1

Transformation of empty spaces into urban ecosystems

Typology 1: Process without Process

Amaia Fernández Marrón, Lia Lijó Solla, Román Blanco Vilas

Research Questions
The main research interest was to understand the succession of owners, from public to private ones, the related projects, actors and processes and how to activate the latent potential of the now vacant land to become an inclusive public space for the neighbourhood.

Research Methodology
The Action Network Model visualizes first the expropriation of the land by the government of a coruna with plans to build a football field in the early 1990ies, which then over several steps is sold and re-sold from public to private owners with increasingly commercial projects envisioned for the land. The residents of the neighbourhood having not been a part of this process, only recently reconnect with the land which has filled with water, due to it’s abandonment during construction of the foundations.

The Group proposes to activate the latent potential of the site to stay an urban ecosystem, a lagoon, in opposition to plans by the current owners to develop a residential tower on it. In order to create momentum for the project, the group suggests to work with public media to create social pressure, have the land evaluated technically by architects or engineers to verify the feasibility of the approach, have biologists execute an environmental study and work with the government regarding legal and administrative questions. The current owner should be incentivized to adapt his design towards an inclusion of the lagoon, arguing that this public space could increase the value of the real estate surounding it.


Transformación de espazos baleiros en ecosistemas urbanos

Tipoloxía 1: Proceso sen proceso

Amaia Fernández Marrón, Lia Lijo Solla, Roman Blanco Vilas

Cuestións disparadoras
O interese primeiro da investigación era entender a sucesión de donos, dos públicos ós privados, os proxectos relacionados, actores e procesos e como activar o potencial latente do solar, agora agora vacante para convertirse nun espazo público inclusivo para o barrio.

Metodoloxía da investigación
O modelo da Rede de Actores visualiza primeiro a expropiación da terra polo goberno municipal da Coruña baixo plans para construír un campo de fútbol a principios de 1990, que logo é revendido polos propietarios públicos a outros privados, que prevén proxectos comerciais para esa terra. A veciñanza do barrio non formou parte deste proceso. Recentemente reconectáronse coa terra, agora asolagada debido ao seu esquecemento durante a construción dos cimentos dos futuros edificios.

O grupo propón activar o potencial latente do sitio para manter un ecosistema urbano, unha lagoa, en oposición aos plans dos propietarios actuais de desenvolver unha torre residencial nel. Para crear un impulso para o proxecto o grupo suxire traballar cos medios públicos para crear presión social, ter avalado tecnicamente a terra por parte de arquitectos ou enxeñeiros para verificar a viabilidade do enfoque, facer que os biólogos executen un estudo ambiental e traballen co goberno sobre cuestións xurídicas e administrativas. O propietario actual debe incentivarse para adaptar o seu deseño cara á inclusión da lagoa, argumentando que este espazo público podería aumentar o valor dos inmobles que o rodean.


Javier Harguindey

Interested in uncovering the links between forces that shape the urban environment (social, technical,…) with focus on the demographics and data.

Architect / Urbanist, UDC

Prof. Dr. Placido Lizancos

Interested in building up a research methodology to address key questions on identification and classification of the issue. Interested in understanding what has the "crisis" left behind and to establish a scientific method by which to address it. Interested in exposing academia to "real life" contexts and setting the teaching conditions to ensure that the classroom is not committed to supporting such practice that facilitates such crisis.

Architecture Professor UDC

Scott Lloyd

Interested in understanding the actions, networks and forces that give shape to the city. Interested developing new models of applied research to investigate the issue. Interested in the format of teaching to inform and empower the next generation of city makers.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ

Xosé Lois

Interested in analysing what can be done with existed buildings with the notion that each example is of itself a particular context. This takes into account the relations between different components of the systems that shape the building context.

Population and the role of Galicia in state policy where real state is one of the main economic motor of economic growth.

This is a very complex situation, we cannot propose just one question, as the project is develops, questions will appear. What kind of economic model we want? Rental or production? What kind of country do we want? We destroy our productive model and now we have a speculative model based on construction of space

Architect, UDC

Hans-Christian Rufer

Interested to create access to affordable housing. Interested in a multidisciplinary approach that corresponds to the complex environment of housing. Interested to use the architecture studio as a place to integrate the diverse range of partners into site specific projects.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ


Dr. Estefanía Calo

Interested in recovering links between the right to housing and the right to the City: both are under threat and both are required in order to achieve urban justice. Interested in establishing Empty Coruña? is a first stage to develop knowledge about how to resist this systemic threat against basic citizen rights.

Sociologist, UDC


Anxo Calvo

Is the market able to solve the problem by itself or should we be looking for regulatory solutions? What regulatory frameworks are available and appropriate for Coruña?

Economist, UDC

Roberto Castro Thome

Interested in the question of regulation as nothing is possible from a single bank with even the ethical banks that are trying to do something having no success. Furthermore interested in the Valuing agencies as they overvalued housing during the creation of the bubble.

Banker, Association Pro-Housing


Fernando Del Llano

Interested in researching the current conditions as an environment issue focusing on energy and economic point of view.

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Ángeles Longadera

Interested in researching energy efficiency, energy “pobreza”

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Urban Studies

Manuel García Docampo

Interested in investigating a research methodology that encompasses the three dimensions of: Agency – Processes – Objects

Sociologist, UDC   


José María Cardesín Diz

Interested in researching urban growth and development of 7 cities in Galicia during the crisis in order to compare them with A Coruña

Historian, UDC


Ricard Leonardo

Interested in researching the formal administrative tools utilised to frame and criminalize “illegal” occupation. Research should take a critical point of view and investigate what people do by themselves to solve the problem.

Architect / Activist


Michael Juan Sierra

Sonia Beltrán

Interested in researching the right to housing

Interested in researching the social problem of the crisis and how these are urban issues

Architecture Students / Mapping team, UDC


Amal Nnechachi

Interested in the human side of the crisis as hauman rights are being undermined. Drawing from experiences of colleagues who have suffered directly from the housing problems.

Cartolab UDC

Alberto Varela

Interested in mapping and understanding the effect of the crisis in the urban context in order to visualize the problem.  In order to identify the problem the social point of view should be taken into account through information tools and extend the study to other cities.

Cartolab UDC

Building Engineering

Santiago López

Interested in researching technical approaches to improving environmental issues and to minimize the environmental impact of empty buildings. There is a social interest in this approach.

We should complete empty buildings taking into account alternative materials and techniques and develop innovative environmental building techniques.

Building Engineer