Last summer, I visited a conference by the Urban Commission of the IGU (international geographical Union) in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. There I met Lena Kilina, a young artist, and researcher, who works on the concept of play in public places (read more on her Linkedin and this interview).
A part of her research revolves around Minhocão, an inner city highway that becomes car-free during evenings, Sundays, and holidays and comparable to Bogota’s ciclovía (although the ciclovia is stronger related to biking). Recently, the highway in Sao Paulo was awarded the status of ‘park’ by the local government. Nick van Mead, writing for the Guardian, called Minhocão ‘São Paulo’s soul’, referring to the vital role the highway has started to play in providing a public place for locals.
The idea of the closing of streets to use them as public space is not limited to South America, just look at initiatives such as Summer Streets in New York and a general worldwide trend of increasing car-free streets. Although these positive examples, cars continue to dominate city space. So, to keep the discussion on the alternatives of using city space, here’s a contribution from Sao Paolo: