February 16, 2011

The future of cities depends on political, not technical, decisions

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Over 350 people celebrated the opening of Our Cities Ourselves – or Nuestras Ciudades, Nuestro Futuro as it is known in Mexico – earlier this month in Mexico City at the Museo Franz Mayer. The show has been enthusiastically received, with over 80 articles, television spots and radio broadcasts to date, including strong coverage in the prominent newspaper Reforma which declared: “it is an exhibition that shows the value of imagination”.

The imagery displayed suggests pragmatic ideas beyond the architects’ visions, and emphasizes how crucial political will and commitment are to realizing sustainable urban design. As Enrique Peñalosa, ITDP President and former Mayor of Bogota, explained at the opening, it is important to “transform cities with the political will necessary to make cities more competitive and more equal”.

“It is not possible,” he continued, “that we give preference to the car, when it carries a single person, while buses hold 80. We must recover the streets for pedestrians, because of all the rights that the constitutions around the world give us, they don´t say anything about parking.”

Bernardo Baranda, ITDP’s Latin America Director elaborated: “The main objective of the exhibition is to show the potential for sustainable mobility systems and prioritize projects that create public spaces for people”.

The Museo Franz Mayer is a beautiful eighteenth-century building, located right in the Centro Historico, across the street from the Parque Alameda and from the first public bike station in the downtown. It will remain in there until the 20th of March, The exhibition will also host a series of public seminars, including lectures from Jan Gehl (Gehl Architects), Michael Sorkin (Terraform), Jose Castillo (arquitectura911), Tim Tompkins (Times Square Alliance), as well as Mexico City’s Secretary of Urban Development and Housing and Carlos Slim’s COMURSA.

For more information on the event program visit: https://www.ourcitiesourselves.org/index.php/events/ https://www.ourcitiesourselves.org/mexico/index.html

Our Cities Ourselves, an urban visioning exhibition created by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), sets out to showcase how, by implementing sustainable transportation solutions, cities can manage growing urban populations as well as address environmental concerns. Underpinning the exhibition on show are “10 Principles for Transportation in Urban Life”, a booklet developed with Jan Gehl, the noted Danish Urbanist, to help national and city leaders, private and public organizations realize the critical role of transportation in sustainable urban development. The cities featured in the exhibition are Ahmedabad, India, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guangzhou, China, Mexico City, Mexico, Budapest, Hungary, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Jakarta, Indonesia, Johannesburg, South Africa, New York, United States and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This exhibition was first presented in 2010 at the Center for Architecture of New York.


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