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Institute stimulates the use of public space

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Since the Ancient Greece cities are meeting places, a collective space and heritage of all. Why don’t you take the ownership of the public spaces also for sports? This is one of the objectives of Challenge Day 2017: to make you get off the couch and go to the streets, to the subway, to the park. After all, you move and the world moves along.

Nowadays, more and more people have pursued to occupy public spaces for leisure, entertainment and physical activities.  So, initiatives that propose to reinvent urban environments such as those created by IPIU (Instituto de Pesquisa e Inovação em Urbanismo) are gaining more followers.

Julia Miranda Aloise an architect and researcher of the Institute and the group of researchers propose simple and practical interventions, using traffic cones, paint, window flowers, pallets and other materials that can be adapted to build parklets, pocket parks and urban gardens in cities.

A project created by the group of researchers in conjunction with the population and the private sector was Batatalab, in the Largo da Batata, São Paulo. With new urban street furniture and cultural profile, the Largo now gathers gourmet, sporting and cultural events. “What was once inhospitable became crowded once people realized the potential of that area”. says Julia.

For the architect Emilio Bertholdo Neto, who is also a researcher at the IPIU, it is all part of a cycle. “When people find new use for a place, it begins to attract more people. The movement attracts economic development and trade, and that attracts even more public”. On Sundays the opening of the Avenida Paulista and the Elevado President João Goulart, both in São Paulo (SP), are examples that encourage diverse uses for the streets.

Challenge Day: take back the street!

Challenge Day wants to awaken the desire to practice physical activities. According to Julia it can also be a motivation to occupy spaces in the city “people can take ownership of the street for sports too. The street is the right place for games and healthy competition among children”.

Bertholdo tells us that this is a worldwide action, with initiatives, for example, in Africa, where children use a soil field as soccer court, attracting from fans who gather around to watch the games, to street vendors. There are similar movements in Medellin, Colombia or in New York, USA, among others scattered around the world.

How to start? Can I do this? Yes, you can and should. IPIU experts clarify that small interventions do not require legal permits. Meeting some friends, preparing a nice pathway and forming a group to run are a great start. Play ball in the park, walk, rollerblade, skateboard or cycle are some easy, inexpensive and practical options available.

For him, it is important to create awareness on the importance of a democratic relationship with the cities, in which forces have the same desires and goals. “The city is ours, the public space is ours, we need to treat it well so that people can use it,” concludes the architect.