This Big City:
“100 Urban Interventions in 1 Day
Joe Peach. 18 April 2013
There’s a limit to the amount of physical change one person or a small group of people can initiate in a city, but what if hundreds of citizens united, each putting in place the projects and changes they want to see in their city all on the same day? That’s the goal of 100en1día (100 in 1 day) – a social movement originating from Bogotá, Colombia, which aims to inspire citizen driven change on a significant scale, transforming cities over a 24 hour period.
The project has already encouraged hundreds of interventions in the Colombian cities of Bogotá, Pasto, Pamplona and Chinú, with street art, urban gardens and bike lanes all appearing on the same day. Bogotá is currently preparing for their second event on the 27th of April and international cities are also beginning to get on board. San José is launching its first event on the 20th of April and Cape Town and Copenhagen are running their own versions on the 25th of May.”
Photo: Images via 100en1dia
“Colombia Has 100 Tiny Libraries in Public Parks
Sammy Roth. June 27, 2012
It’s no secret that ink-and-paper books are going out of style, mostly due to the rise of e-readers but also because fewer people are reading in general. And considering that the print book industry is pretty bad for the environment, maybe that trend isn’t all bad. Still, not all is lost for fans of old-fashioned books—especially in Colombia, where tiny public libraries are operated out of parks all over the country.
The program was started more than 15 years ago, and it has continued to thrive, operating 51 mini libraries in Bogotá and more than 100 throughout the country. The libraries themselves are rather remarkable—they hold about 350 books each, and they’re operated by volunteer librarians who organize activities and help kids with their homework. They’re only open 12 hours per week, but at least those hours are usually over the weekend. The program is run by the nonprofit literacy group Fundalectura in conjunction with the parks system.
Regardless of how you feel about the future of print, it’s hard not to be impressed by this innovative network of tiny public libraries. And if they manage to get people reading—not to mention spending more time outdoors—it’s hard not to hope that they’ll stick around another 15 years.”
Via: The Atlantic
Photo: Bilingual Librarian
“The 8 to 80 Problem: Designing Cities for Young and Old
John Lorinc. Jan 18, 2012
When he worked as the parks commissioner in Bogotá, Gil Penalosa helped trigger a quality of urban life revolution of sorts by promoting car-free Sundays – “ciclovias” — on hundreds of kilometers of the streets around the Colombian capital. As this video shows, over 1.3 million residents each week would take to their bikes or participate in festivals and activities throughout Bogotá. In so doing, they boosted both their enjoyment of the city and their own fitness levels, thus creating a lively, low-emission sense of community for people from all walks of life, so to speak.
In his current gig as the executive director of Toronto-based 8-80 Cities, Penalosa travels the world with a trenchant question that arose out of those experiences: how do we create cities in which both 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds can move about safely and enjoyably? “We have to stop building cities as if everyone is 30 years-old and athletic,” he says.
His 8 to 80 litmus test involves imagining a public space, but especially a busy city street or intersection, and asking whether it is suitable for young and old alike. In all too many locations – signalized crossings on wide suburban arterials, narrow bike lanes, over-taxed sidewalks, etc. – the answer will be no.
By way of solutions, Penalosa’s group has advised cities like Seville and Guadalajara on the importance of more accessible surface transit, improved cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, and more programmable park space.
But in many aging societies, where the proportion of seniors will grow as much as four-fold over the next two decades, public space improvements alone won’t make large urban areas, especially car-dependent suburbs, more suitable to the needs of older residents. Indeed, one of the most difficult questions facing urban areas is how they will go about making themselves more age-friendly.”
Via: The Atlantic