Strategically redefining public space
History and identity are fundamental to any city and are elements that are related to this project, whose area is part of the historical context of the urban formation of the municipality of São Luís, bypassed by the estuaries of the rivers Anil and Bacanga. The project reinterprets the public spaces of the stretch – and recovers some of them, forgotten – within the context of the Revitalization Program of the Historic Center of São Luís, launched by the Special Projects Secretariat – SEMPE, with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
A new spatial strategy seeks a greater connection with important cultural facilities in the surroundings and services, creating a coherent urban vision, a richer public space and a more people-friendly urban design. Prioritizing active and collective transport and enhancing the cultural, leisure and sports vocation of the area characterize the main premises of the project.
The project comprises a strip from Avenida Vitorino Freire to the Bus Terminal, which is part of the Ring Road around the Old Center. Although built with the objective of seeking solutions for the more orderly development of the central urban core and avoiding its devaluation, the road system ends up configuring barriers between the various relationships in the urban fabric, including with water bodies and natural elements.
The avenue occupies the space, while it forms a barrier on the banks of the Bacanga river, concentrates large voids resulting in a sparse configuration of the territory, since most of the spaces along the riverbank become isolated and inaccessible by break in the flow of pedestrians.
Strategies for restructuring the mobility system and occupancy guidelines and new uses prioritize more spaces granted to people. The resizing of the road system covers all modes of transport with comfort and safety, promoting treatment of sidewalks and new crossings for physical and visual connections between public spaces and urban facilities. The implementation of a bicycle path, exclusive bus lane and improvements in public lighting prioritize a system aimed at active and collective transport.
The reorganization of the square and the bus terminal promotes better distribution of commercial points and elimination of existing physical and visual barriers. The redesign of the space creates small squares with equipment and urban furniture, promoting ideal conditions for the creation of a vibrant public space. The terminal’s road system is restructured and modernized, aiming at higher quality in the services provided to users.
Throughout the development, society and public organizations were involved, through participatory processes and workshops. Social surveys and analysis of the pre-existing situation of traders were carried out, with the aim of developing a proposal that would meet all local demands and needs. In conjunction with territorial analyzes, social surveys directed the location of commercial points and the definition of typologies.