Mr. Pérez de Arce had already encouraged us to transform the river into a great landscape project linking the city’s public parks. Will Mapocho 42K contribute to this?
On January 12, 2014, the start of the construction of the first section of the Mapocho 42K cycle path (1) was announced in the newspaper La Tercera (1). As declared by its developers, the general idea was to establish the outstanding approach of the 1989 National Architecture Award winner, Mr. Mario Pérez de Arce, who at that time suggested consolidating a walkway along the Mapocho River which would connect the eastern and the western sectors of the city through this continuous and distinctive riverside element. Pérez de Arce understood and visualized the potential of the river as a system of connecting parks. This would involve transforming the river into a recreational and ecological corridor.
(1) “Construction Part of the First Section of the Mapocho 42K Cycle Passage,” La Tercera (January 12, 2014) p. 52
If we observe how we have built our river, we can see that the river and its riverbanks have been considered as infrastructure by various projects, such as the Parque Forestal. These projections sought to configure the riverbed as a component landscape of the city, capable of providing equipment to its urban context, whether socio-cultural, ecological or hygienic.
From the above, the cycle path can then be understood as part of a series of infrastructures that build landscape, but which in themselves do not constitute an infrastructure. Along with highlighting the effort of the Mapocho 42K project to explicitly and continuously connect the length of the river, it is important not to be satisfied just with its materialization as a cycleway because, evoking the words of Pérez de Arce, the real project emerges in the possibility of consolidating the parks that it connects and in turn understanding the river as a determining component in the configuration of its edge, and not only as an element that accompanies it by traveling along its length.