Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo are founding members of ecosistema urbano, a Madrid based group of architects and urban designers operating within the fields of urbanism, architecture, engineering and sociology. Vallejo and Tato define their approach as urban social design, by which they understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. Ecosistema urbano has used this philosophy to design and implement projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China.
Ecosistema urbano’s principal members were educated in several different European universities and come from many diverse urban environments (Madrid, London, Brussels, Rome, Paris). They have taught as visiting professors and have given workshops and lectures at the most prestigious institutions worldwide (Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Cornell, Iberoamericana, RIBA, Copenhagen, Munich, Paris, Milan, Shanghai, to list a few). They did this while implementing urban action and intervention in cities in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Since 2000, their work has been nationally and internationally awarded on more than 30 occasions. In 2005 ecosistema urbano received the European Acknowledgement Award from the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction. In 2006, they were awarded the Architectural Association and the Environments, Ecology and Sustainability Research Cluster award. In 2007 they were nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award for emerging European architects. They were also selected out of more than 400 teams from around the world to receive an AR Award for Emerging Architecture in London, 2007. In 2008 ecosistema urbano won the Arquia/Próxima prize, awarded by the Caja de Arquitectos Foundation to the best project drawn up by young architects from 2006-2007. In 2009, they were nominated from more than 500 teams to be a worldwide finalist and recipient of the Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction, Silver Award.