CO-LAB WALK MY CITY FREE

Ciclo de conversas Vídeo

Conversa 1: Lisboa que abraça

27 – [conversa 1] 

Covid-19 is changing how we relate to public space

  • [Fernando Medina] Urban policies must respond to the need for better air quality and more green spaces in the cities, particularly now that people are increasingly choosing to walk and bike. Covid has highlighted this need

28 – [conversa 1]

The functional city and the relational city

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] People are demand for a relational city, not just a functional city. Typically cities have 10% of their public space area dedicated to social activities (relational city), i.e. parks and squares. Ideally, this should be upscaled to 30-40% minimum. All cities are far behind this target.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] By investing on soft mobility connectors (removing cars from one street or strongly reducing the traffic and creating calm areas to walk and bike) that link parks and squares, we can sometimes create very good opportunities for people to have streams of 25-30 minutes of quality walking in cities.

229 – [Conversa 1]

The time we don’t have in our pockets. The pleasure of walking and meeting people

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] People usually have little time to spend, maybe they have 5-10 minutes to spare walking, this is the time they have attributed to themselves on a daily basis. However, when we increase the attractiveness of the public space, they might change that for themselves.

30 – [Conversa 1]

Covid-19 research: walking and anxiety in Portugal

  • [Raul Antunes] Portuguese research study: people who reported more outdoors physical activity during lockdown also reported lower levels of anxiety. Walking played a big role and had a positive correlation with the general findings for more physical activity. Older people walked more, maybe dur to the presence of more people in the streets and a sense of safety

 

 

 

18 – [conversa 1]

Walkable city: Lisbon and the new pavement

  • [Fernando Medina] When we stated changing the traditional Lisbon pavement made of cobbles for anti-slippery pavement, we realised that many older women refrained themselves from walking in the streets because they feared falling and breaking bones.
  • [Mariana Marmeleira] Urban planning departments from cities could engage the younger generation by consulting architecture and urban planning university students when designing urban design programmes or interventions

 

32 – [conversa 1]

Public Participation and conflict management

  • [Fernando Medina] Urban management implies compromises with local uses: public space for walking usually comes from streets previously used by cars.

 

[conversa 1], 2 –

To create a second skin around walking areas in cities

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] By default, walking should be the top behaviour we want to facilitate in cities. To make it the normal behaviour when we focus on the architecture of choices.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] We need to achieve tranquility in the public spaces where we move most in cities – in parks, squares, schools, supermarkets. We need to create a “second skin” around these places, i.e. to need create tranquillity within the 5-10 minute distance so that people feel comfortable here (accessibility and good reasons to be there).

These are meeting places. We need more room for people to use these areas, and so the streets surrounding these places should be transformed from streets to squares or green spots. We need to add more furniture equipment, too so that people enjoy walking and being there.

[conversa 1] 3-

Adapting the South European cities to climate change

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] Cues for the walkability in Southern European cities in face of climate change: To create a “fresh nights” programme to increase the sense of safety in the neighbourhoods at night, so that people can walk and seat outside their over-heated homes. This is very important for women as well as for the elderly. The programme creates “health corridors”, usually green areas with no traffic. To open up the public space in the evenings is a new, upcoming challenge for the Southern European cities

16 – Conversa 1

Placemaking

  • [Mariana Marmelada] To give back to the population a place that has been profoundly modified over time might require listening to the elder population who might still recall the older uses of the place.

 

[conversa 1] 18 a

Goins out at night in the city as a young adult

  • [Mariana Marmeleira] In Lisbon, when the 20 something generation goes out at night, they protect themselves as a group, not living girls to walk alone back home for fear of safety

 

 

Conversa 3: Podemos ter mais cidade

 

6 – [Conversa 3]

Engaging people in the design of cities

  • [Letícia Sabino] The NGO Sampapé [Brasil, city of São Paulo] was created to stand up for a more walkable city. The rights of the walker cannot be defended if people are included in the process. We want to bring the cities public management closer to citizenship. We want more people to be knowledgeable and to feel empowered to join this conversation, to think the city, to dream the city, to transform the city.
  • We invite people for walks and ask them to keep an alert and critical eye. We tease them a little to bring about their knowledge on their own walkability issues. We want to see the diversity of people in this conversation.
  • We want to increase people’s participation in a discussion which includes the public officers and public management. We aim at more walkable cities which are the result of a collective transformation

 

[conversa 3] 7 –

Walkable cities

  • [Letícia Sabino] A walkable city is a complex concept: it is a city that is very pleasant and inviting at all scales – the street, the neighbourhood and the whole city, so that everyone can do most of their activities on foot.
  • [Letícia Sabino] First, we need to consider all the accessible things and areas for people in their own neighbourhood, say 15-minutes. – can people reach for their basic needs and leisure areas by walking from home? Then, we consider if people can walk in an independent and safe way – taking into account age, socioeconomic condition, ethnic group without feeling threatened at any time of the day: and finally, we consider comfort: can people stop half-way through if they want to, can they walk in shade, and avoid excessive pollution, so that the walk is pleasant.

 

[conversa 3] 8

Walking for leisure and functional walking

  • [Letícia Sabino] Functional walking needs to be pleasant, too. We should not need to separate the two.
  • [Letícia Sabino] Most of the urban planning considers mostly the functional activities. Other activities which are made on foot are not taking into account, such as the caring services that people need to do (walking children to school, visiting the elderly parents…) are not taken into account as opposed to the productive walks.
  • [Letícia Sabino] During the Covid-19 pandemic more people started to do non-functional walks, i.e. just walking for the sake of it and not because they needed to get somewhere. Then people realised that their neighbourhoods were often mis adapted for pleasant walks. People realised it was not easy to find nice spots for nice walks in their neighbourhoods.

9 – [conversa 3]

We need more data on mobility

  • [Letícia Sabino] We don’t have data on leisure walks. All our stats about walking are just concerned about walking to work, commuting.
  • [Letícia Sabino] We also lack data on mobility indexes: we don’t ask people if they refrain from going out due to barriers to walking they may encounter, such as quality of the pavements or gender-based sense of insecurity. This hinders the rise of public policies to promote leisure walking.

10 – [conversa 3]

The value in Public Participation

  • [Pedro Homem de Gouveia] Public participation is a citizens’ right, but it is also a very valuable process for the quality of public space processes. We must democratise Architecture and Urbanism. Public presentations in city halls for the locals at the start and closure of public projects are not sufficient: urban planners must go to the field and engage with the local people.
  • [Pedro Homem de Gouveia] In Lisbon, the urban planners sent a team of women to discuss a the neighbourhood public space safety for women. They listened to women of all ages and occupations, doing surveys, talks, going to the local school, etc.
  • [Pedro Homem de Gouveia] Participative processes are very demanding in terms of methodology, as they require a very clear a priori identification of the aims of the future intervention.

11 – [conversa 3]

Public Participation to make the change and foster innovation

  • [Pedro Homem de Gouveia] Public participation must aim for real change and innovation. Otherwise, the participants will basically stick to what they’ve seen and what they already have, that is the status quo. So, during this process we must highlight the possibilities of change, including what’s being done in other places. The process must include the effort to encourage the people to demand change for the better in their cities.

12 – [conversa 3]

Gender walking safety audits

  • [Letícia Sabino] How to engage women in the redesign of cities to make them safer: We use mostly qualitative methodologies (and never the classical passive participative sessions in city halls) to make it more real. We perform safety audits with groups of women by taking them on walks in territories which are familiar to them, which are part of their daily routines, but also in routes near their homes or workplaces but which they do not use maybe because they feel they are not safe for them.
  • [Letícia Sabino] On street audits, we invite women to act as experts in those territories. We ask them to indicate what makes those routes unsafe, inaccessible, or uncomfortable to them. They are better at spotting the exact features that cause insecurity than urban planners are.
  • [Letícia Sabino] Nobody is able to imagine what they’ve never seen. If people don’t know about a solution they will not be thinking about it. We are empowering women to have a critical look at their neighbourhoods, so that then they can help create solutions and start imagining a different city. Urban planners have a role, too, in providing referential examples. The technicians’ role is to translate people’s desires into something feasible. Then we need to test the new ideas. Tactical urbanism is very valuable to this process, as it helps people picture the resulting solution. We do this as micro processes.

 

 

13 – [conversa 3]

The walking-friendly city we want

  • [Letícia Sabino] In the 15-minute city, everything has to happen in the same place, within a short distance – living areas and work areas. Most European cities were developed with car mobility in mind, whereby people need to travel to do their activities and as a result these cities still have too many roads.
  • [Letícia Sabino] The Covid pandemic has proven that we can remove traffic from some and increase the space for walking and for bikes. Even in cities which have been regarded as walking friendly, it became evident that we have too many streets for cars and this use is not favouring the new sustainable, walking, healthy, safer modes of living in cities.
  • [Letícia Sabino] We need to reinvent our streets. Buenos Aires, for example, is transforming streets in some neighbourhoods into squares with no cars and opening markets there, so that more people end up living close to places where they can buy their fruit and vegetables within a short distance. New York has been doing the same. We have too many streets, we need to rethink their uses.

 

 

Conversa 4: Urbanismo com perspetiva de género

19 [conversa 4]

Feminist urbanism

  • [Blanca Valdivia] Urban feminism Vs gender urbanism: gender is an analytical variable that allows us to spot inequalities; feminist urbanism aims at transforming the uneven situation, the priorities and privileges given to men in the current society.
  • [Blanca Valdivia] Men and women use the city in different ways. Also, the city has been built giving priority to the productive activities, in a very hegemonic way, aiming to serve a typical white man who owns a car. The public space has been associated to the economic activities, whilst the domestic domain is linked to the non-productive activities, such as the caring activities. And the city was not built with this last priority in mind
  • [Blanca Valdivia] Feminist urbanism has evolved a lot over the last years especially in Southern Europe and in Latin America. It argues for a caring city, that is focused on the sustainability of life, in the sense of protecting everyone’s life in the city, also to accommodate for people’s activities including caring for others activities, and to protect the environment because it sustains our life, which one might name as eco-feminist perspective.

 

20 – [conversa 4]

Methodologies to plan and promote a caring city – I

  • [Adriana Souza] A caring city is an inclusive city. Some women, especially black and poor women, are invisible to the urban planner. They don’t show high on the statistics. We need to acknowledge their invisibility first of all. The planner needs to include all the variables, such as women with disabilities, older women, etc. Then we need to plan for the special needs of these women. For example, it is often the case that their commuting is not straight forward, it may include several different tasks

21 – [conversa 4]

Methodologies to plan and promote a caring city  – II

  • [Blanca Valdivia] We choose to work with qualitative and participative methodologies. We do observations, walk the territory, meet the people at the local shops, meet and engage the local authorities. From here we try to elaborate our analysis and then validate it with the help of the community.
  • [Blanca Valdivia] Street benches are very important for inclusiveness, especially for older people. Punt 6 developed a project working with older women in their studio, with maps which they adapted to become less technical and difficult to ready. The women identified their daily activities and where they happened in the maps. When asked, many women begun by saying they did nothing (because they understand that they don’t do productive authorities, and other activities, such as taking kids to school are perceived as not having social or economical value). After marking the daily activities in the map (including going to the shops, go to the pharmacy…), they marked on the map a series of spots to instal benches (and decided if they wanted the benches for meeting other people or just individual). Temporary benches were placed (tactical urbanism) and then the same women were taken to the streets to evaluate if these had really been the best choices, for example if it a good place to stay for a while talking to a friend, if it had enough shadow, etc. This kind of intervention can produce radical changes in the use of public space by some people who are typically very confined to their homes.

22-  [conversa 4]

Functional walking and walking for leisure/recreation  

  • [Patrícia Santos Pedrosa] Separating functional from leisure work may be excessive
  • [Adriana Souza] Walking ought to be pleasant in general, but the way the cities have been designed removes this pleasure from the regular, functional walk.
  • [Adriana Souza] Walking just for leisure is a privilege of the rich people. People living in poor neighbourhoods don’t have a pleasant environment around them to enjoy the walking, so when they do their functional walking, for example to take kids to school, they don’t find the motivation to extend the trip a little bit, perhaps go into a park, because the city they live in is not pleasant

23 – [conversa 4]

Women walking in cities is functional. But ideally also pleasant and accessible

  • [Blanca Valdivia] Women walk more than men in their daily lives.
  • [Blanca Valdivia] We need to improve the quality of the walking routes people use in their daily lives – accessibility, but also noise reduction, less air pollution, more trees and shadow.
  • [Blanca Valdivia] Too many people die in cities from air pollution, more than those that die for traffic accidents. Women and older people without a car are the most affected.
  • [Blanca Valdivia] People who use public transportation walk more than those who use their cars
  • [Blanca Valdivia] Due to the long Covid lockdown, many old people saw a strong reduction in their mobility
  • [Blanca Valdivia] During the lockdown many people took the streets for leisure walks

 

 

 

Conversa 5: Emoções urbanas

Urban emotions

24 – [conversa 5]

The relational city

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] It is the duty of the planner and the local politician to design the relational city, that facilitates gatherings for walking, be it groups, couples, friends, or families. They need to prioritize time and space for walking.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] When people walk together they match their walking rhythm, there’s a different kind of interaction between people

 

25 – [conversa 5]

 The relevance of walking

 

  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Urban walking is essential for people to feel their humanity. We need to walk to feel human, to better perceive time and where we belong.
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Urban walking is filled with sociability: we express ourselves through it, we communicate with others.
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] During the Covid confinement we felt an urge to go outside and walk? Why? Because we need to, we need to see people, we ned to belong to the community
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Walking is a rhythmical activity and it is very important for us to sense the passing of time. It is very important for our mental health
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Through our walking, we consciously or unconsciously develop our own biographical story in the city. This is very important for our mental health, it helps us define who we are, where we are, where we belong. It is also through this that we develop our social identity – where do we belong in the city, which urban space I call my own, my neighbourhood
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Intentional walking Vs Discursive walking (like a narrative) Vs Conceptual walk. Walking as a performance, which tells our story, our experiences, our mental states.

[conversa 5], 1

Walking the city, feeling the city. Building a mental map of the city

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] Perceiving the city as you walk it. Walking the city makes all the difference – psychologically and cognitively. Walking helps you build a mental map of the city.

The way you get to know a city is linked to walking the city. When walking you establish new neuronal pathways. If you know the city by subway only, you get a fragmented mental map of the city, made of the few bits that you see on the surface when you come out. You will not be able to orient yourself in the city (parallel to experiments with mice in mazes), you don’t have a functional mental map. Evidence from project “Legible London”.

Walking enhances the proprioception, that sixth sense that we have, a very important one, linked to all the cinestesic perceptions and emotions that the body produces whilst walking.

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] Multisensoriality: we have over 30 senses, and when we walk many of these are more active. For example, perception of temperature is also a human sense. This is increasingly important in face of climate change

 

17 [conversa 5]

A dream team to design the city that makes us happy

  • [Filipa Wunderlich] The ideal interdisciplinary dream team to work on an urban intervention project in a neighbourhood, using an inclusiveness approach: this should be a collaborative project, where the architect or urban planner acts as the mediator. He may at some point take some members of the community – representative of its diversity, for a walk together. His role is that of the facilitator that helps the communication between the various community groups. It is key to have the community represented, especially those who may be more marginalized, as we need to have a good understanding about how they live and sense the neighbourhood. The third element is the politician from the city mayor. We want to put these parties together at the same level, talking, accepting each other, sharing stories and understanding the narratives of what is different for them. We need to engage their participation through the design. The mediator is the collector of ideas. We also bring along some creative people that help us imagine beyond what we currently want for the city.
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Walking in the city with community members, the local politician, the architect or urban planner, and a mediator, which is ideally a creative person, perhaps even from the performing arts, with a design thinking in motion process. This is a very effective way to incorporate a very collaborative process of co-design
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] ‘Balade croquis’ technique, in which we draw as we walk, so people get to express their emotions, and they really feel like they are being listened to. Then, as the new ideas and dreams begin to take shape, there is something magical for them in the process, in the sense that they see their desires and emotions incorporated on paper. Besides that, the urban planners and architects who participate also see their views evolve and the final project will be different than the one they would have designed in their studios. “the fact that you walk together and draw people’s dreams at the same time really results in something else”.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] The local politicians should be involved in the process too, and participate as actual citizens, for they too are persons and citizens before they are politicians.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] We must bring the city of emotions to the political field, as a conscious political choice: you may choose to build more than just the functional city, and take measures to build the emotional city, the relational city that helps meet walk and be together. For that, emotions must be moved forward of the political agenda. Politicians and everyone else need to realize how the right city affects us and how we like it, how the city makes us happy.

26 – [conversa 5]

The rhythm of walking. The optimal experience

  • [Filipa Wunderlich] Regular walking in a chosen and desired pathway can be a source of momentary happiness. This has to do with the expressiveness of the rhythmicity of walking, associated to the events, surprises and novelty that the city brings. We can talk here about optimal experiences. Also linked to bodily pleasure and mental relaxation. This happens when the walker senses a good flow in the walking.
  • Filipa Wunderlich] We should invest in the design of opportunities for good walks, with a good flow that release a positive emotional state (positive bodily sensations and mental relaxation) can be positive for people’s mental health. Especially in cosmopolitan cities, we should start addressing the opportunities to facilitate opportunities for this type of walking effects
  • Filipa Wunderlich] The important thing is not what the places have, but what happens there

 

31 – Conversa 5

Personal stories and the collective sense of neighbourhood

  • [Sónia Lavadinho] The hyper-proximity dynamics are very important for people. Covid helped people evaluate the quality of their neighbourhood for walking. For many people, who used their neighbourhood just for functional walking, they started using their neighbourhood also for leisure walking. And for some people, for the first time ever they were walking in their neighbourhood with their family members and friends.
  • [Sónia Lavadinho] During Covid, it became apparent for many people that their neighbourhoods do not have enough green and blue areas for leisure time. Urban planners cannot just rely on the big city parks and blue areas, we need to invest in the micro expansion of green spots, green areas, green corridors at the hyper-local level, near the places where people live.
  • [Filipa Wunderlich] When we walk in our neighbourhood we add an anthropological dimension to our perception of the public space: we see people, we observe them, we visit the shops and get to know people who we see regularly. Covid and the lockdown showed us that we really need to go out and engage with our city.

Conversa 2: Cidades que mudam com a Covid

 

[conversa 2] 4 –

The caring city and Covid-19

  • [Inés Madariaga] Covid-19 enhanced the importance of the caring services from families and friends to people who are dependant.
  • [Inés Madariaga] Working from home reduces the daily commuting but it enhances the need for local services in the neighbourhoods where people live and work.

5 – [conversa 2]

Women don’t have time for leisure

  • [Inés Madariaga] Women do not have time for leisure time, according to a study by Eurostats. This situation has worsened during Covid-19. Women are more multifunctional than men, and they must fit in work and home duties within their days.

 

14 -[conversa 2]

Reoccupying the historic centres of cities 

  • [Jorge Moreira da Silva] If we repopulate the centre of the cities, in the old towns which have become deserted, we will be reducing safety problems. Investing in housing rehabilitation in ‘donuts-effect’ cities is important for the safety of women and other people, too
  • [Inés Madariaga] The main problem with women’s safety in cities is the subjective perception of insecurity. Statistics tell us that there are more cases of physical violence against male individuals than females. Women limit themselves the use of some parts of cities, as soon as they perceive a place as not safe.

15 – -[conversa 2]

Digitizing the society, climate change and the new mobility

  • [Jorge Moreira da Silva] Digitizing the city, the school, the workplace (after Covid) is a problem for human relationships, but it also creates opportunities to fight climate change. We have a new social order and also have risks related to socializing.
  • [Jorge Moreira da Silva] MaaS (Mobility as a service) is an interesting opportunity to fight climate change and to promote soft mobility modes, especially if we guarantee inter-operability between mobility modes.

 

Project Co-Lab Walk my city free is a EEA Grants co-financed project initiated in 2020.

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