15 months ago park of the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Buenos Aires (FAUBA) is closed to the general public due to the pandemic. A few days ago, the Buenos Aires Legislature approved a draft declaration in which it asks the City Government to intercede with the UBA for its reopening. But the Buenos Aires Executive refuses to do so because it says that it is a private space. This Sunday, the neighbors respond with a hug to the property that is currently closed.
On the same day that the Legislature requested the intervention of the City, the Faculty announced that for the moment it will not enable public access to the Agronomy Park, because doing so “not compatible” with compliance with protocols of coronavirus prevention.
“Poor UBA, you can see that it does not occur to him how to adapt the protocols. Will they need professional assistance?” Open Agronomy Movement since your facebook page. Its members organized a hug to the property this Sunday at 11, in Tinogasta and Zamudio. A place where until two years ago there was an entrance to the park, but even before the pandemic the Faculty decided to wall it up.
The Open Agronomy Movement was created by residents who lost access to the only lung for five neighborhoods. His claim served as the basis for the City deputy Laura Velasco (Frente de Todos) to present the approved project, which seeks that the authorities of the City and the UBA reach an agreement for the reopening of the park.
The gates of the park of the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA have been closed to residents since March 2020. Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros
Will the Buenos Aires government intervene? In response to a query from Clarion, from the Executive of the City they affirmed that in spite of the legislative request, they are not going to do it. They affirm that they have no interference on the matter because it is a private property, which belongs to the UBA. And that the University has the right to decide whether or not to open it to the public.
“No public university is a private space -says Rodrigo García, teacher, neighbor and member of the Open Agronomy Movement-. In addition, we are struck by the fact that there is talk of a dispute between public and private. It was lost of sight that the objective of the Government of the City and of the UBA is the community. We do not ask that the Government of Buenos Aires get involved in university life, but to implement spaces that guarantee a negotiation to reach an agreement“.
“We believe that it is essential that there is ora dialogue table in which both parties can advance so that as soon as possible Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires we can count, once again, with this green and public space so important and necessary, especially in this context of pandemic, “said Velasco the day the venue endorsed its initiative.
The Legislature approved a declaration to request that the Buenos Aires government intercede with the UBA for the reopening of the Agronomy park. Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros
That same day, FAUBA released a statement in which it also He appealed to the pandemic as a reason not to open the property closed to the public. “The second wave of Covid does not allow us to foresee a change in the short term, but we hope that when the situation improves, measures can be implemented that allow access to the property of the neighbors,” says the text.
In addition, he explains that the faculty maintains a low level and meetings are not authorized. “In the same way, access by the general public is not allowed, since it would be impossible to control their entry and permanence,” he argues.
“We are not asking to enter the educational building, but a park to make careful and measured use of it, “Rodrigo is indignant. And he proposes:” We want there to be a co-participatory management plan that takes into account the community that surrounds the faculty. After all, one of the pedagogical goals of the university is for people to learn the value of the environment and nature. “
This week, Clarion consulted the Faculty of Agronomy of the UBA (FAUBA), from where confirmed that for now there will be no changes. The park will continue to be closed.
The property is listed as Urbanization Park (UP) by the Urban Code of the City, a zoning that applies to the areas of green spaces and landscaping. According to the declaration approved in the Legislature, they are zones of public use. That is why Velasco considered that the Buenos Aires government should intercede for its opening.
The property that the Fauba occupies is zoned as a Park Urbanization. Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros
Faced with this, at the time the FAUBA used the same argument that the Buenos Aires government uses to not intervene: that the property belongs to the University of Buenos Aires. It is a university campus with classrooms, laboratories, research institutes, offices and open-air spaces where teaching and research tasks are carried out.
From the Buenos Aires government they not only recognize that it is a private property, but that explain that the fact that it is UP does not oblige the UBA to open it to the public. This zoning, they detail, what it does is limit the use and the possibilities of building. For example, in a UP zone you cannot build buildings, but you could install a golf course.
The Faculty of Agronomy always allowed neighbors to enjoy the university park. Until March 2020, when the coronavirus broke into everyone’s lives.
Almost 15 months later, in the first days of June, the Board of Directors of FAUBA ratified with a resolution your decision to keep the property closed. And it provided that it will only allow the general public to enter “once authorized by the competent health authorities and those of the University.”
“Opening to the general public is not compatible with the development of the essential academic activity of the Faculty of Agronomy, attentive it would not allow compliance with the protocols approved by the authorities of the University with the intervention of the health authorities of the Nation and City”, provides the resolution.
The lung of six neighborhoods
The Agronomy park has around 60 hectares and two entrances, today closed to the public. One is in San Martín and Nogoyá and the other is in Constituents and Beiró. The third, which was in Tinogasta and Zamudio, was canceled two years ago.
The property is a corner of the country in the middle of the city and serves as a lung for the neighborhoods of Agronomía, Villa del Parque, Villa Devoto, Paternal, Parque Chas and Villa Urquiza.
Inside runs the Avenida de las Casuarinas, a peaceful internal street that crosses the Urquiza train tracks, which has a level crossing within the property. That avenue used to be used by neighbors who wanted cut corners to move between San Martín and Constituents. Today, they have to surround the property. On it, in addition, one weekend at a time there was a producers fair.
Neighbors used to go to the park to do physical activity, to walk, or simply to sit and drink mate in one of the few green spaces in the area.
The Agronomy Park looks like a piece of country in the middle of the City. Photo Alfredo Martínez
“The closure of the Agronomy park caused great pain in the community, because it was one more space in the neighborhood – says Rodrigo García -. A connecting, recreational space for interaction with the university. I enjoyed it, I went to play with my son. I have lived in the neighborhood for 14 years and one of the things that attracted me to live here is being close to this place. It is a fantastic space because it allows you to break with the dynamics of the City. It has its own ecosystem, a microclimate. “