Democratic Sponge About Credits Related

About the project

Vallecas, Madrid 2003

Greening or Ecologizing? That is the question.

Making public space ecological is not about covering street and building surfaces in green. Ecology is about paying attention to objects and the way they relate to each other and to other actors. It is time to think about public space as a relational assemblage of diverse entities, which is to say, from the perspective of ecological political theory, as the artifact capable of promoting transparent and democratic relationships among diverse and inclusive notions of citizenship.

Democratic Sponge is a system that injects new porosities: social, political, and literal. It is composed of a catalogue of stackable modular units all developed to allow different quantities of water to stay within public space. It is an assemblage of overlapping management frames taken from different traditions of urban management (from the squatter’s self-supply to centralized municipal management). The units provide the spatial and infrastructural support to the different activities that build up humans’ coexistence with each other and with living and non-living non-humans.

Democratic Sponge is an urban scale, hydro-retaining infrastructure that creates humidity-lag so winter rainfall can be stored for release in dry summer months. A humidity gradient is created in the stacked soil where a diverse environment can be nurtured.


Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation


Design, Coordination and Edition

Alexandra Delgado, María-Solange Faría, Rebeca Frisoli, Luigi Ligotti, Teresa del Pino, Jorge Ruano, Mercedes Simón, Herminia Vegas



Sonia Jaque, María Martínez, Claudia Picazo


Environmental Consultant

Mariano Pérez-Filgueira


Structures Consultant

Belén Orta

Shopping Basket