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Public space and urban sustainability

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There is no doubt that public spaces such as streets, squares, parks and amusement parks are essential to achieving a better quality of life among urban and urban residents. In the case of Mexico, the majority of the population, about 80% of us, live in cities. Few, however, have explored the potential offered by these sites as essential elements for creating “sustainable cities and communities,” the seventeenth and eleventh goals of the United Nations for the sustainable development of our planet.

Public spaces that contribute to sustainability go beyond (and sometimes against) what we usually have in our imagination: green and grassy spaces with trees and flowers, where they have extraordinary abilities to restore some of the notions of society and the environment that we have lost. In the last two centuries:

1. It has the potential to be an infrastructure that resists, protects, protects and reuses elements such as water, solar energy and solid waste.

2. Acting as an infrastructure and not just a place for recreation and amusement, it increases the interest of the community in keeping them in good condition, because of the basic services they provide to the surrounding community, where they can become sites for sewage treatment. Rainwater intrusion, solid waste separation and recycling, storage
Rain distribution and solar capture, among other things.

3. They can show the types of endemic plants that characterize different cities and need less resources to keep themselves fit, become small botanical gardens of native plants and demystify the purely aesthetic concept of the French garden, with its green lawns and flower species, very expensive to maintain, which is usually the floor.

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4. They promote the meeting and coexistence of the neighboring community, promoting sports and recreation, but also developing other cultural and educational activities because they have the capacity to provide services such as toilets, public internet, digital libraries and laboratories.

5. By removing the rails that normally surround them, they become entities associated with the urban fabric, linking and enhancing pedestrian and non-motorized movement, which is very necessary for promotion at this time.

Therefore, we read this as a call to be promoters of more and better public spaces in our cities, recognizing that those that already exist and many others that are now underused can become the best catalysts for urban sustainability. Reducing and reversing climate change at best.

by Loretta Castro Regera Mancera
MA in Distinguished Urban Design at Harvard University


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