(un)sustainable cities

I am writing this reflexion because I am quite upset with how our cities are structured (particulary Logroño).

Since I was a kid, I’ve always moved around using public transport (buses as it si the only one available in my hometown). Logroño is quite a small town, so using the car is unnecesary; and even though there are lots of campaingns encouraging inhabitants to move using public transport, walking or by bike, the ‘car dictatorship’ still rules.

On the following lines I am going to write about my personal experience and the problems I’ve comforonted over the years.

when you look up in google maps in birds sight any street from your city, you are likely to find this: huge railroads surrounded by parking lots, leaving little space for sidewalks. This means that us, inhabitants play a less important role in city plans for our politicians. We should be the main priority, kids should be able to develop independency and move around the city freely, which is not possible thank to cars passing by in every place, bikers should be able to move around safely without the risk biking my city carries.

Urban planning having sustainable movility as the priority has many benefits, such as improved health (active means of transport), kid friendly cities (which improves their developement), sustainability… The car supremacy has made our cities sick; why would someone take the car to go somewhere 15 minutes apart? Because it is the easiest way. If urban planning gave the priority to sidewalks and bike trails it would be a different story.

One of Logroño’s most transitated streets, in yellow, the space for pedestrians, in blue, the space for cars.

As architects, our mission is to create an better environment to live in, and one possible way to achieve thos would be making streets almost intransitable for cars. In a society that loves comformity, the only way to achieve this is by imposing measures that will prevent us to use the most comfortable solution (in this case the car).

Logroño is a nightmare for ciclists, there are almost no bike trails at all, the ones that do exist end in random walls or are poorly conserved. On the other side, if you bike in the road, you are likely to be yelled at or almost hit even if you bike correctly.

I know we humans are creatures of habits, but sometimes it is necessary to come out of the comfort zone in order to achieve a greater good. I think this is the case with sustainable movility, even though people mostly do not agree with the changes being made in their cities (I always end up arguing with my mother because of the modifications made in Logroño), the chainge is more than needed. I hope I will help transform my hometown in a model in aims of sustainability for the rest of Europe.

bike trail in logroño. nuevecuatrouno.com logroño calles abiertas. Rioja2.com