If you’re tired of narrow bike lanes and uninspiring concrete walkways, have no fear. The new global transport initiative, “Our Cities Ourselves”, demonstrates how metropolises from Dar es Salaam to Buenos Aires can meet the challenges of accelerating population growth, as well as responding to climate change. Ten cities around the world have been re-imagined to prioritize pedestrians and sustainable transportation, such as bicycles.
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) selected ten diverse design teams to sustainably redesign mobility in their urban centers. These architects and urban planners have re-framed the transport issue to make it integral to urban design, as opposed to separate from it. Working in Jakarta, Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro, among others, the NGO specifically targeted cities with space for innovation.
A new exhibition at the Museo de Arquitectura (MARQ) in Buenos Aires features these potential plans, alongside parallel exhibits in New York and Mexico City. Argentine architecture firm, PALO Arquitecta Urbana, presents plans to transform the neighborhood of La Boca, which they argue has the city’s most problematic transit issues. Emulating Manhattan’s successful High Line park, PALO suggests the former freight railway is transformed into a pleasant urban walkway. The firm plots ideas for a “people-friendly” waterfront along the city’s coast, complete with promenades, bike lanes and grassy areas all connected by a bridge exclusively for pedestrian and bicycle use.
The project is a critical issue as the transportation sector currently accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, and with populations shifting into cities this amount is expected to increase.
Visionary urbanist Jan Gehl and Executive Director of ITDP, Walter Hook, established ten principles for creating more sustainable urban spaces. Through these initiatives we see examples of how cities can be re-formed to encourage more sustainable transit.
The book “Our Cities Ourselves: 10 Principles for Transport in Urban Life” is an important read for urban planners and those involved in city design, and forms the core part of the ITDP exhibition. It is a guide to encourage countries to make their cities more livable, while helping to solve the problem of climate change. Gehl states that the twenty-first century heralds the development of “lively cities, safe cities, sustainable cities and healthy cities” which can be achieved by embracing these ten principles, and re-developing cities with their inhabitants as the focus.
Images © ITDP and PALO arquitectura urbana