The ongoing cleanup efforts in the La Matanza/Riachuelo basin in the southern metropolitan area of Buenos Aires are intended to be a well-rounded, comprehensive effort set forth by the interjurisdictional authority of ACUMAR. One goal is the re-imagining and re-conceptualization of public space to equitably provide opportunities and dialogue in the basin’s affected communities, mostly in poorer areas contaminated through industrial pollution and negligence.
This study focuses on the ongoing efforts of the team that is helping to guide this discussion. Through the lens of educational initiatives (school programs), community participation (community meetings and roundtable discussions), and participative actions (mural painting, tree planting), the Fortalecimiento Barrial team works to change physical and imaginary places into more inclusive, sustainable spaces focusing on participant ownership.
While there are some distinct differences between municipalities in terms of program scale, there are also some common factors. The clear motivator in this recuperation is not only the long-term environment and livability in the basin, but the future well-being of its children. The youth focus is meant to transmit knowledge and investment in the new social dialogue of environmental awareness and to empower youth to become active leaders in continuing social change and perceptions about their surroundings. The integration and long-term commitment of groups such as ACUMAR need to ensure the continuation of these programs so that results can be sustainedfor future generations.