Thursday, 25 August 2011

there is beauty in the city : the conversation - #10

this is the tenth installment in the ongoing cross-city conversation between there is beauty's glen stoker and bilbao photographer igor calvo of ph'a'ke

#10 - a reply from igor...

In conversation # 9, Glen reflected on the failure of many urban policies and the stubbornness of local governments and authorities to tell people where it may or may not walk, move, go…and he was absolutely right.

Not so long ago, the council inaugurated a new plaza/square “in the middle of a roundabout" in the center of Bilbao. Being the chosen site for the plaza/square already controversial (a place of relaxation surrounded by traffic), its design, with the benches looking at the road and the citizens who would seat in them breathing the bad fumes from the vehicles surround, seems like nonsense.

On the day of its “opening”, many were the citizens of Bilbao who came to show their disagreement with the design of the new plaza/square and, above all, to request the change of the benches location; so that, at least, they would look towards the centre of the plaza/square instead of facing the road. The city council shook its head with signs of disapproval, emphasizing how whimsical were their fellow citizens and, making a great exercise of kindness, moved "some" of the benches as citizens demanded.

Thus, Bilbao has gained a place that makes traffic to flow easier through the center of the city, but the council has wasted another chance to make the city more friendly for its citizens and pedestrians. All that, thanks to public money of course, on account of the same taxpayers who requested its modification.

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