“The people are telling us that many of the public spaces in Cuenca are drab and gray and need some greenery,” says Dora Ordóñez, director of the Municipal Cleaning Company of Cuenca (EMAC). “Our answer is, ‘we hear you,’ and are planning a landscaping program to increase the amount of planted areas in our plazas and parks.”
EMAC is sponsoring a competition among landscape designers and architects to develop a citywide program to introduce more trees, grass and shrubbery to public areas. Called Garden Cuenca, the new initiative will award $7,000 to the top submission. The winner will then have a $70,000 budget to complete the work. “We expect to announce the winner in March and begin landscaping in June and July,” Ordóñez says. “The plan is to have most of the work completed in time for the Cuenca Bicentennial in November.”
Although the project will ultimately landscape 15 to 20 parks and plazas, the immediate focus will be on six locations, including Otorongo Plaza, the Civic Plaza at the Ninth of October market and San Francisco Plaza.
Ordóñez says that she and the landscapers will meet with residents of the affected public areas before final designs are determined. “We have heard complaints about San Francisco and Otorongo Plaza since they were completed and we want to hear directly from those who have an interest in introducing more greenery to those locations.”