Gran i General Consell CIVIC AXIS
RECONVERSION OF GRAN I GENERAL CONSELL STREET IN CIVIC AXIS
development project of AGORA 4.8 proposal, winner of the first prize of Europe 14 in Platja de Palma
S’Arenal (Llucmajor), 2018 – nowadays
The project is based on the objectives of the AGORA 4.8 proposal . It seeks to enhance the pedestrian use of the street, prioritizing it above the vehicle but at a reasonable balance between the two. The spaces for pedestrians with accessible circulation and staying areas will be increased along their length, while at the same time permeable surfaces will be created to allow the reduction of rainwater runoff and the proper infiltration of the water to the subsoil and reduce the need for irrigation of the proposed vegetation.
Due to investment and management reasons, the conversion will be proposed in two phases: the first between Miramar Avenue and Balears street and the second from Balears street to the shopping center. This intervention in phases allows the citizens to adapt themselves gradually to the new operation of the street and to adjust the volume of the works to a period of time that does not cause interference with the tourist season.
Promenade and staying areas
The proposal aims to achieve a continuous effective promenade space along the street, but maintaining a carriageway and parking area. It is also proposed to make all the routes of the new civic axis accessible, so the two sidewalks of the proposal will always maintain a minimum width of 1.8m free of obstacles. The new accessible route will be combined and increased with living spaces and new vegetation. The location of the promenade and the living areas on the north sidewalk of the street directly respond to the environmental sensation conditions of the street section: it has most of sunshine hours throughout the year, therefore the most needed sidewalk for intervention to become a nice and friendly space, which is why in this space it is very necessary the introduction of shaded spaces that reduce the solar radiation and allow the walk and stay during most hours a day, especially in the hot months.
There are two types of sections that exist on Gran i General Consell street, which determine minor changes in the proposal section:
Section 1: Section between Miramar Avenue and Salut street
Current section: north sidewalk (2m) + roadway (8m) + south sidewalk (2m)
Responding to the condition of open section the introduction of vegetation on the two sidewalks it’s proposed, thus obtaining a tree-lined street in all its section.
The southern sidewalk grows to accommodate tree pits of the needed size for optimum tree growth.
The north sidewalk is the one that must fulfill the functions of promenade, therefore it must allow the routes and the areas of stay. Due to the existence of numerous car entrances on the southern sidewalk, the parking areas have been moved to this sidewalk, and for this reason the tree pits are transversely arranged along the promenade.
Proposed section: north sidewalk (3.40m) + roadway (5.70m) + south sidewalk (2.90m)
Section 2: Sections from Salut street to the mall square
Current section: north sidewalk (2m) + roadway (8m) + south sidewalk (2m)
To counteract the feeling of closure of the section of the street due to the alignment of the buildings, it’s proposed to separate the walkway and living space from the parking space, thus obtaining a totally free sidewalk.
It is proposed to maintain the current width of the southern sidewalk but to eliminate the existing trees that reduce effective walking spaces. At the corners the sidewalk is widened taking on the size of the parking space, thus allowing the shortest way to crossthe roadway and the planting a tree at each end.
The north sidewalk corresponds to the promenade. The spaces of stay and vegetation are located between the walkway and the road and is where all the urban furniture is incorporated. Banks are always arranged in sets of at least two elements that allow users to interact, always under the shade of trees. Bicycle parking is also available. The large pits for the new trees allow them to grow in optimum conditions, while also allowing the planting of low-rise shrubs that create more cozy spaces, where restaurant terraces can puntually be installed.
Proposed section: north sidewalk (4.20) + roadway (5.70m) + south sidewalk (2.10m)
Section 3: Section in front of the mall
It is proposed to complete the civic axis in a tree-lined square with living areas, walkways, terraces and children playgrounds. Parking spaces are still being conserved on the southern side of the space, as well as the access to the municipal car depot and the supermarket.
The conversion of the street into a pedestrian civic axis implies a change in the priorities of use of the public space and a redefinition of the surfaces intended for vehicles and pedestrians.
Roadway: The street currently has car parks on both sides of the road, keeping enough space for vehicles to move and insufficient space for pedestrians. The redevelopment of the street will keep the parking space on only one of the two sides but will allow the maintenance of all existing car entrances, the maintenance of 100% of the disabled places, 85% of the length of the loading and unloading spaces and almost 50% of the parking spaces (the new spaces will have the recommended dimensions according to regulations and, therefore, part of the decrease in number is also due to the improvement of the space conditions).
Pedestrian Roads: Pedestrians will see improved walking space with the upgrade of the conditions on one of the sidewalks and the widening of the other, generating a pedestrian civic axis that will allow the passage of the entire street at the same height
The water cycle
The proposal incorporates draining and semi-draining surfaces that will allow the natural infiltration of water into the subsoil and into the ground. It’s proposed a recycled concrete pavement with open joints in the entire area of the walk, that combined with a semi-drainage pavement with recycled rubber in the living areas and playgrounds, and completely draining tree pits, with dimensions appropriated to the planted species. The infiltration of water into the soil will reduce the demand for irrigation of the new vegetation. We will move from an approximate area of 79.00m2 of drainage surfaces to a final surface of 865.92m2, giving an increase of 1,096.10%.
Existing trees will be maintained wherever possible in relation to the proposal compatibility, their adaptation to the ecosystem where they are located and their health status. After assessing the state of the existing vegetation, we propose the removal of dead trees and those that are surviving in poor condition.
The proposal has also chosen to maintain and plant vegetation where the architecture that define the street space allow the trees to develop properly. It’s proposed the maintenance of the existing suitable species and the puntual introduction of new species, which have been chosen according to their compatibility and resistance to the environment where they will be located, their size and the conditions they offer (deciduous trees, suitable for road alignments). More Melia (Melia azerdarach) units will be planted and Jacarandas (Jacaranda mimosifolia) will be incorporated. The introduced Jacarandas will be located in unique places in the project due to the spectacular flowering (in front of the heritage elements and marking the staying areas). Together with the new tree specimens will be introduced the shrub stratum, which improves the functioning of the plant ecosystem.
The vegetation proposal will allow the trees to develop and grow in better conditions, will introduce the shrubby stratum, which is non-existent at present, and will allow the increase of the shade surface on the sidewalk and staying areas.
The recognition of heritage
Three of the thirteen items cataloged by the Heritage Catalog of the Platja de Palma Integral Reconversion Plan in the area of S’Arenal de Llucmajor are located in Gran and General Consell steet. In addition, the three elements correspond to examples of the traditional architecture of S’Arenal: identity and memory of the place. The proposal aims to incorporate the uniqueness of having in its scope almost a quarter of the heritage elements of the town and, therefore, this becomes another tool of the project becoming public space singularities, that is, in front of a heritage element, a micro-square will be generated to show that there is an element of importance there. At the same time, heritage signage elements will be introduced to give more information about the element in question, thus promoting and disseminating the local culture and its heritage.