» When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
» Where: Plaza Guadalupe, 1327 Guadalupe St.
» Cost: Free.
» More info: aiasa.org
After moderating a series of community discussions on the future of Plaza Guadalupe last year, AIA San Antonio Latinos in Architecture (LiA) Committee has decided to activate the West Side space itself as a way of continuing the dialogue.
Family Design Day takes place Saturday at the plaza, and includes a series of activities centered around architecture, design justice, art preservation, sustainability and urban planning.
Musical acts include DJ Despeinada, Los Nahuatlatos, and Los Callejeros de San Anto. There will be food, too.
A few dozen organizations are participating, including Artpace, the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, Hemisfair, MOVE Texas, San Anto Cultural Arts, the San Antonio Conservation Society, SAY Sí, and the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.
“We want to have a series of activities that are related to design that speak to some of the discrepancies and gaps explained to us in the community engagement meetings,” Latinos in Architecture Co-Chair Siboney Díaz-Sánchez said.
The public meetings were sparked last year by community members who protested a fence that had been erected around the plaza. The Avenida Guadalupe Association, the West Side nonprofit that leases the space from the city of San Antonio, argued the fence was necessary to deter drug use and prostitution in the space. Opponents of the fence strategy said the barrier was a way of criminalizing the entire neighborhood, and argued for an open plaza, the way it was originally designed.
The city then hosted a series of public meetings, which LiA moderated.
Earlier this year, the LiA committee shared a compromise plan with a partial fence, which drew mixed reaction. The decision ultimately belonged to District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, but it’s unclear what version of the plan Gonzales chose and whether she or the Avenida Guadalupe Association modified it.
“Some of the comments we heard was about how architecture and design was inaccessible,” Díaz-Sánchez said. The community is “really only presented when there needs to be a decision, but not when people are in the process of making a decision … I think that’s something that continues to happen in San Antonio and throughout the world.”
One idea with had consensus was that of a fence around the playground. This was a concept Gonzales unabashedly supported at the meetings, because it meant there was only one entrance in and out, which is a better way of keeping an eye on who enters the space.
Attendees are encouraged to take the bus, carpool, bike or walk to the West Side plaza.