• Proximity of Care Design Guide


Images by Ciudad Emergente

Okuplaza is an evidence-based planning approach developed by Ciudad Emergente and piloted in several cities across Latin America and the United States.

Okuplaza (aggregation in Spanish words for occupying and square) it includes a tactical urbanism methodology, consisting on short-term actions that seeks to influence long term planning processes. This approach triggers processes of citizen participation together with rising urban data and indicators, with the aim of enriching decision-making in cities.


Location Santiago, Tocopilla, Antofagasta, Valparaíso (Chile) Danlí (Honduras) Ciudad de Panamá (Panamá) Washington DC (United States of America)

Organisation Ciudad Emergente NGO

Beneficiary Children & local community

Scale of catchment Neighborhood and City

Built environment component Open spaces; underused squares



Temporary activation interventions in underused spaces, to

trigger new alternative or new uses of public space.


Painting existing public space and introducing creative

“placemaking; the implementation of some elements can involve the community and change the perception of space (e.g. painting the steps of a public stair, hammock, table games for children, structures built with recycled materials, etc.)


Light elements and temporary designs were used to activate spaces in the

short term, with a reduced budget.


Foldable structures allow for storage, reutilization and future repurposing.


Citizen participation is the main element in the design and implementation

processes of an Okuplaza. Early engagement aiming to “break the ice”; and generate trust and commitment, before discussing interventions but also during its implementation. This type of citizen participation enriches the co-design and co-development of these interventions, also providing new tools to the communities to carry out their own projects.


Criteria for site selection includes underused spaces, so the intervention can

trigger potential future definitive interventions. Okuplaza is able to adapt to cultural

conditions of great diversity.

Implementation learnings

Tactical urbanism interventions are powerful means to activate public spaces. Creative placemaking test out different uses of public spaces, giving the opportunity to influence city planning and enrich decision-making in cities

The designer/practitioner's role is shaping the design connected with people needs and interest, but just as importantly articulating connection between funders and local stakeholders.

Early involvement of both citizens and local authorities are essential for the successful development of the interventions.





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