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Spaces Under Pressure
The need to have more parks versus the need to have more houses.

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By Nelson Peñaherrera C

A park in Santa Julia, in 26 de Octubre District (West Piura City, Peru), where is projected to intervene.
Photo provided by ImaginaParque.

PIURA CITY, Peru - The hunger for money and the need for a home seem to be pushing the invasion of public spaces for parks. The right of someones is literally drowning the right of a community needing oxygen and regulating the climate, also creating or keeping  ecosystems those got to adapt inside urban spaces.

And inside that same urban space, there are human beings who need a place to live, and the whole controversy seem to base upon right here.

The denounces of lots usurpation across Piura City  are daily and they all configure alleged criminal schemes  those even the local Catholic Church has been pressumibily involved, as Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV network suggested mid-December 2016.

In contrast at Santa Julia Neighborhood, located at city's western sector, it will try to prevent another future park to disappear combining urbanism and cultural development concepts into something greater called sustainable design.

For that, the neighborhood's leaders and Municipality of 26 de Octubre District are joining by contributing the space and the needed paperwork  for making it real, respectively. The Regional Government of Piura is also part of that alliance.

They are joined by a group of social entrepreneurs of Signos and Cactus Collectives  for launching ImaginaParque (ImaginePark in english; pronounce it in Spanish: "ImahinahParkeh"), a  project that pretends to have a more beautiful neighborhood, give a space  for doing cultural activities, and benefit the mental health of people by fighting the stress.

Another view of the park in Santa Julia, West Piura City.
Photo provided by ImaginaParque.

Critical Density
Santa Julia is one of the four neighborhoods which 26 de Octubre [pronounce "Vainteesais de Octoobreh"] District was configured, founded February 2013, where it is estimated that around 130000 people (160000 according to Piura Province Municipality) have to find a space in 110 sq km or 43 sq mi, were populating since 1960s decade with migrants from Ayabaca and Huancabamba Provinces and the whole Lower Piura Valley as well.

Occupying the most part of Piura Province's western sector, it hosts today around 50 mostly urban-marginal neighborhoods (uptown), although nobody discards  the real-estate development re-cathegorize the zone in short term.

Only more than 4800 people live in Santa Julia, enlarging across 33,4 hectares or 0,13 sq mi (83,2 acres), according to National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI as in Spanish): 1,4 people per every square meter or 10,7 square feet!

If we take INEI score, the population density in the whole 26 de Octubre would be 1,1 people per square meter , while if we take Piura Province Municipality's estimation, we get 1,5 people per square meter. We will confirm it when official results of Census 2017 to be published, maybe, beginning 2018.

The most of district territory is 30 meters or 99 feet altitude , just two meters or seven feet more than primal Piura City and hosts two of the greater depressions of metropolitan area: the ancient Coscomba an Santa Julia Lagoons, where grows a wetland that tried to be invaded for homes in 2015 and 2016.

Santa Julia Lagoon, that borders  the same name's neighborhood and only fills during the periods of extraordinary rains produced by El Niño, is part of so-called blin basins,  those do not lead anywhere upon Piura City was settled down in 1583 , after three massive exodus since 1532 when Spaniards founded it. The dry part is basically sandy soil.

FACEBOOK: Learn more about the project and talk directly to promoters.

Insufficient Area
Activists of ImaginaParque project are based upon 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Objectives proposed by United Nations Development Programme, and look for the people to assume them as places where achieve all their capabilities, also promoting identity and community spirit. Additionally the idea is catching carbon dioxide for bringing oxygen back to  the environment, and reducing pollution.

However, the activists do not make clear yet  how much space they are going to have available, neither their task indexes.

World Health Organization proposes a minimum of 9 square meters or 97 square feet of green areas per habitant (9 sq m/hab or 97 sq ft/hab), the same like a 3-meter or 9-feet room per side. It was recommended 13 sq m/hab or 140 sq ft/hab in Spain, while United  Nations Organization advices 16 sq m/hab or 172 sq ft/hab.

Piura Region is just 1,29 sq m/hab or 13,9 sq ft/hab, according to INEI quoted by the National System of Environmental Information: 1,67 or 18 in 2010; 1,09 or 11,7 in 2011; 1,62 or 17,4 in 2012; 1,51 or 16,3 in 2013; and 0,58 or 6,7 in 2014.

Across Peruvian Northern, we are matched to Lambayeque, superate Tumbes for almost nothing, La Libertad just superates us, and Cajamarca doubles us. Nationwide, Lima and Callao Metro Area is over 3 sq m/hab or 32,3 sq ft/hab.

In May 2015, Piura's El Tiempo newspaper printed that Piura City is just 1 sq m/hab or 10,7 sq ft/hab. For the record, it is estimated more than 0,65 million people live across that metro area.

For ImaginaParque, 26 de Octubre is "a virgin district" in terms of green areas management and development, but how much?

In Micaela Bastidas, one of the most western neighborhoods of that territory and the Piura Metro, there is a green area that is leafy forested, has recreational spaces, and it was fenced to avoid its deterioration and the unsafety because many parks trend to turn into delinquent stashes. We can say in addition that it is one of the cleanest at that zone.

One of ImaginaParque spokesmen accepted  to me ignoring this fact.

If the benefit of a green area is indisputable as good, the question based upon demographic indexes of 26 de Octubre could be what its priority level is... and how to conciliate them.

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