Urban initiatives uphold the right to public spaces

 

Ciudades sustentables logro 2Public spaces, especially as they relate to the creation, maintenance, and transformation of people-centered cities, are considered key to the New Urban Agenda, an agreement that will establish new priorities and strategies for the 21st century, and to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Fundación Avina – in alliance with UN-Habitat – works to elevate the importance of the right to public spaces in cities in Latin America and to propel their transformation into gathering places characterized by economic inclusion and cultural expression, in order to foster social cohesion. One example of this was the emergence of the Red de Atención Integral para la Inclusión Social del Centro Histórico (Integrated Response Network for Social Inclusion in the Historic District – RAIIS) in the historic district of Mexico City.

The network came about in response to the complex phenomena of violence, exclusion, and vulnerability in this part of the city. Its efforts succeeded in reclaiming an emblematic space like Plaza la Soledad, restoring its public role as a safe, social gathering place and spurring on the transformation of other public spaces in the historic district.

In addition, in Lima the “Ocupa tu calle” (“Occupy Your Street”) initiative helped promote an active urban citizenry that takes ownership of public spaces and reflects on what it means to be a sustainable city, particularly when it comes to public spaces and sustainable urban mobility. In less than a year, more than 100,000 users are already enjoying 10 new public spaces created in 5 city districts, thanks to the collaborative work of community members, the city government, private companies, academic institutions, and civil society organizations.

This impact has inspired changes in municipal policies and programs in San Isidro and San Borja, which now actively promote the use of public easements as terraces, the creation of parklets (mini parks), and the inclusion of bike lanes in the design of public spaces.

Principal Allies: UN-Habitat, Red de Atención Integral para la Inclusión Social del Centro Histórico de México, Lima Cómo Vamos Countries Impacted: Mexico and Peru

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