Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Footpaths make all the difference

“The single biggest difference between the infrastructure of an advanced nation and a backward nation is its footpaths, not its highways,”
Enrique Peñalosa, the former Mayor of the Colombian capital Bogota tells to The Hindu.

I have never before heard anyone speaking about ensuring an enjoyable street life within your city life. And ever since I heard that (which was this Sunday), I'm missing my home town (Thiruvananthapuram). In particular the Rajbhavan road from Kawadiar to Palayam and the dear friends with whom I had enjoyed the walks along them.

I wonder how this one phrase - street life - covers so much of the things that I miss when I'm out of home town. Am I street sick?


Rajeev said...

So true! Socially, culturally and politically it is important to create "shared experiences" not (or minimally) mediated by market/state forces. Indian cities otherwise will just crumble under it's own weight. "Manaveeyam veedhi" in Tvm near ER&DC was a small attempt to reclaim the night, the street and the public space. Cultural performances, discussions, art exhibitions etc on the street-side. Last time I met him, Shaji Karun had some great ideas on this topic - about creating city-centres and city squares with only pedestrian traffic, etc.

suchand scs said...

പ്രിയ ദീപക്കേട്ടാ, ചില അനുഭവങ്ങളുടെ വെളിച്ചത്തിൽ ഞാൻ ഇതിനെ ഒന്നു 'misinterpret' ചെയ്യുകയാണ്‌...സംസ്കാരം വീട്ടീന്നുണ്ടാവുന്നതാണ്‌, വിദ്യാഭ്യാസത്തിനു വലിയൊരു പങ്കില്ല.. :(