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Ecosistema Urbano

Ecosistema Urbano, which means “urban ecosystems,” is a Madrid and Miami based architecture and consulting firm that defines its approach as “urban social design.” It is dedicated to the urban context, a social approach and design as a tool for transformation.

Founded in 2000 by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, a central part of its practice is “urban sustainability; combining urban design and planning with strategies articulating social, technical and management issues. They are also committed to public action through placemaking– a collaborative process used to shape public spaces in order to maximize shared value.

Ecosistema Urbano has updated the concept of “community participation” through the development of online tools and apps which encourage global participation on local projects.

They are also known for green projects such as Ecobulevar, a project of ‘air trees’ in the Madrid suburb of Vallecas. These are large, circular pavilions that are made from repurposed industrial materials such as recycled plastic, greenhouse fabric and rubber tires that contain rooting vegetation and atomizers that cool and moisten the air in the cylinder and around it. The cylinders are self sufficient and surplus electricity produced by photovoltaic panels is sold back to the grid, which pays for their maintenance.

We had a chance to speak with Belinda Tato of Ecosistema Urbano, along with Daniel D’Oca of Interboro, Social Design Insights. Listen to the episodes here: