The project for the University District of Santiago de Chile, a pioneer in Latin America, represents the first initiative for the integral development of a district in Chile. The University District, built during the first half of the past century, occupies a very important place in the collective memory of the city of Santiago. Here are located the universities of Diego Portales, of Andrés Bello, of Santo Tomás, the University of The Americas and a centre of the University of Chile. It is also home to 14 professional institutes, 4 technical training centres and various schools. All these centres accommodate a total of 45.000 pupils who, added to the 20.000 neighbours who reside in the district and the 10.000 users of the area, form a daily population of 80.000 people.
The principal objective of the strategic plan was to consolidate the growth of the district through giving shape to different economic, cultural, urban and social initiatives. In order to carry out the project, the University Corporation of Santiago was created in the year 2002. This organism is what is termed a District Management, a new public-private management model developed by the city hall of Santiago to improve specific sectors of the city.
Firstly, it committed itself to habitability and environmental quality, creating numerous metropolitan green areas such as the O’Higgins Park and the Equestrian Club; local public squares such as Plaza Manuel Rodríguez and different tree-lined avenues for the exclusive use of pedestrians. Multimodal accessibility has been boosted through the metro, a new road axis has been designed and traffic has been limited to the main access roads. It has all served to increase the use of the public space and has caused a growing dynamic of concentration, transforming the district into one of the most powerful functional sub-centres of the city and of the country.
Coinciding with this opening up of the district, numerous educational centres have opened their doors to the neighbours, giving them access to the libraries and computer rooms and organising different cultural activities that promote the integration of the citizens.