The Parques de Tierra are a series of parks that help emphasize the suite of services provided by exposed earth. They serve to drain rainwater and allow it to percolate to the aquifer but each also has a program that makes use of soil for urban life in a different way.
The Parques are broken up into four categories: Educativos for education, Compostas for compost, Laboratorios for construction research, and Botanicos for planting. The first Parque, an Educativo, would serve as a center for education about the soil and landscape in the urban environment. By focusing on extremely localized knowledge, it avoids the one-size-fits-all attitude towards soil science and allows for learning about the specific urban environment.
Each park design is based around a kit of parts that serves as a set of didactic tools to learn about the local soil: a subsidence stair, a building module, a platform, and a landscaped dirt basin. The first element in each Parque is a subsidence stair. The rammed earth for this building is layed and rammed onsite by the residents to celebrate breaking ground on the park. This ritual also marks the beginning of subsidence measures, as each stair is set on deep foundations in the bedrock so that the subsidence of the surrounding building is apparent.
The kit of parts also includes modules of varying levels of openness, depending on the needs of the program. In the case of this first Educativo, these comprise an open air classroom and a building where compost can be dropped off. Next is the platform. By setting each platform in the soil in a different way, the platforms allow an opportunity to test foundation and construction ideas in local soil conditions. Many parques, including this one, have multiple platforms to compare different ground conditions. Finally, the landscaped basins allow the parque to collect and absorb rainwater while measuring the volume of rainfall for the residents’ information.
Each Parque has elements of the other categories so that they can work together. As such, all Parques have a compost drop-off, a classroom, at least one plant bed, and a below-ground module. Furthermore, each successive parquet adds to the body of urban soil knowledge so that future parques can benefit from this information. Through these programs, the parques work as a network to bring urban people closer to their soil.