New green spaces to breathe life into Chilean capital

Government initiative designed to increase parks in Santiago kicks off this year.

Santiago already boasts a number of sprawling green spaces but the Chilean government is working hard to bring even more parks and recreational areas to the capital.

As part of Santiago’s Legado Bicentenario program — which includes the development of parks and cultural initiatives — the city’s green spaces are due to increase by six percent in 2014.

Included in the latest phase of the project are Parque de la Ciudadanía, located within the grounds of the Estadio Nacional — together with three other parks: Renato Poblete, La Aguada and La Cañamera.

Since the program came into effect in 2010, Santiago has seen around 400 acres added to the near 6000 acres of parks already available to residents of the Chilean capital.

Designed by Chilean architect Teodoro Fernández, the new additions to the Estadio Nacional grounds in Ñuñoa include a football arena, sports and aquatic center and the athletics track — covering a total of 158 acres.

The first phase is already underway — running parallel to the street Pedro de Valdivia — and will be ready by the end of March. A bike lane, half a mile of walking paths, benches and palm trees will fill the space. The sidewalks along Pedro de Valdivia are also being expanded.

“The area will be a significant contribution of green space for the surrounding communities to use,” Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Francisco Irarrázaval, said.

After the first phase is completed, construction will begin on phase two — a space encompassing no more than 11,500 square feet. A completion date has not yet been set.

Work will also begin soon on a new 60-acre park in Cerro Navia — to the west of Santiago — mid-February and will finish in 2016. A skate park, eight sports fields including three football pitches, picnic areas and an outdoor amphitheatre for artistic and cultural events are to be built on the northern banks of the Mapocho River.

“The park will not only improve the quality of life and the air we breath, but also the way in which Santiago’s inhabitants relate to the city,” Mayor of Cerro Navia, Luis Plaza, said.

More than US$18 million in funds will be provided by the regional government for the development.

Work has also begun on La Aguada, Renato Poblete and La Cañamera, all due to be completed in the next 10 years.

This great green initiative is just the latest in a push to promote healthier and more active lifestyles in the city. The government has also invested in creating and promoting new bicycle lanes and parking throughout Santiago.