A letter from a XVIII-century philosopher to La Marina de València

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Yes, there may be a match between philosophy and urban planning which brings a new perspective to the transition of already existing spaces. Since design thinking and placemaking processes benefit from involving many different views, a philosopher’s advice should be more than welcome.

Such is the conception of the triad ‘thesis – antithesis – synthesis’, created by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. This simple approach can be used as a tool for space analysis, especially for locations whose functions have altered across the years. It also helps in capturing the essence of a place, its authenticity, and desired functions, based on previous experience and planned uses.

The Hegel’s triad is applicable to the transformation of La Marina de València over the last decades.

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

In this case, a thesis would be the old harbour that existed before La Marina. The expensive and elite-oriented modernisation can be seen as the antithesis, which resulted in a superficially pleasing, but profoundly unwelcoming and enclosed area. The final step, the synthesis, combines the results of previous phases, draws conclusions and allows to form new ideas.

Currently, La Marina de València is undergoing a process of transformation which aims to make it a livable, inclusive and open for every-day-use space by synthesizing elements from the past with new features.

The outcome of the triad can be helpful in capturing the new essence of La Marina. It captures the authenticity and utility of the old harbour and combines it with the previous, groundbreaking vision of La Marina as an international events site, such as the America’s Cup or the Formula 1 Race.

La Marina de València 2019

The revitalization of La Marina de València requires a vision that respects the local needs and context. Only then will it be possible to return this space to the citizens and provide an authentic experience in the coastal part of the city.

The workshop ‘Placemaking for Innovation’, hosted by La Marina de València in November 2018, became a melting pot for ideas and perspectives for La Marina. International and local groups of placemakers highlighted the necessity for respecting the local aspect of the area and its residents while striving to create an open, interdisciplinary and unique space. This can be achieved by encouraging innovative approaches towards the transformation, activating stakeholders, decision-makers, as well as different groups of users (current and future) and non-users.

Placemaking Week Europe 2019 at La Marina de València will provide another platform to share knowledge and best practices from all over the world that may shape the synthesis phase. See you there!