The participatory transformation “Eyes on the Palace” is centered around a historical building and uses an urban intervention to involve the community of the Port Neighborhood in Valparaíso and temporarily recover the Subercaseaux Palace – an abandoned building that affects the security of the area.


The Subercaseaux Palace was seriously damaged in a great fire in 2007  which left the building in ruins. In 2013 this abandoned structure was chosen as the main venue for the Great Festival “Puerto de Ideas” of Valparaiso, a public-private initiative celebrating culture, literature and fine arts in Valparaíso. For the event, Ciudad Emergente was commissioned to undertake the temporary transformation of the Palace through participatory strategies. Ciudad Emergente’s approache to the transform of this insecure urban space was to understand the challenges of reconversion from multiple points of views,  considering not only the problem of garbage and illegal dumpsters affecting the abandoned structure and their implications in terms of environmental and public health, but also the implications of the space in terms of public safety and community engagement as a key for urban regeneration.

This strategy stems from the fact that in Chile more than 220 tonnes of plastic bags are used daily. Their life expectancy is on average 15 minutes but may take 500 years to degrade. The global trend is to remove them and replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives. To achieve reduced consumption effectively, education and public awareness are essential. Therefore, we proposed to intervene in the public space with a collaboratively-produced item built from a simple, daily disposable resource: the plastic bag.

The workshops, in addition to the creation of the built elements, help create environmental awareness and community building. Furthermore by creating an environment where neighbors can get to know one another, the area become safer. Additionally, a Citizens Charter was created, that invited people to sign-up to support a request to government to discourage the use of plastic bags and promote more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Name: Ojos en el Palacio
Date: November 2013
Location: Subercaseaux building, Valparaíso, Chile.

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TacticsSarah Derroisne