liveable cities

Bee the change

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Every life matters. Be a positive change in your town with a little effort: protect your bees and plant some flowers in your balcony!

#BeetheChange #Landscape #UrbanGardens #ClimateChange #ClimateChangeSummit

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Day 72 of #100dayproject: Sunless Cities

DSC05475 A picture of the view of my house in Santiago

Robert Doisneau said long time ago: “The charm of a city isn’t distinct to the flower’s enchantment. In part depends it into see how the time flows through them.” Usually, when we think in cities like Miami, Barcelona, Dakar or Valparaíso, we think in the sun. Some days at the year I daydreamt with those cities: warmth of the sun, the beaches and the sound of the sea at the evening. However, when I came back to my reality, I crashed with the sight on my window: the grey of the color and several high buildings. I have a few hours of sunlight in my house is at the mornings and I followed it with the hope of see it more times a day.

I blame the architects, build-owners and engineers every day, for did the buildings without the sunlight necessary for the human life. Sometimes I think those professional aren’t human beings or maybe they just don’t care, because they don’t live there. I totally agree with the analysis of Jan Gehl:

The architects and urban planners live disconnected from the rest of people. They planned bigger buildings who looks the sky and added more space for cars, but they forget completely of the live at the ground level. This space is in what the humans move, live and interact every day.[1]

Those professionals of construction and architecting are privatizing the sunlight and the landscape scenic quality. I thought that the landscapes are part of human rights, but in this capitalist system, even landscape and sunlight are products who must be bought. As James Corner said:

In the landscape there are not permanent or eternal conditions, it’s all about a dynamical and changing environment who always is going on. It is delimited by climate, history, ecology and the unpredictable contingencies of time. This dynamism is what made the landscape an extraordinary and experimentally rich system, however, at the same time, is one of the most disconcert and difficult to manipulate[2].

Finally, I bring to you the example of a real sunless city. Greg Girard[3], Canadian National Geographic photographer toured part of Kowloon Walled City in the late 80s, taking pictures of life among the garbage and the facades. Photos are overwhelming, not only by the monumental horror of uncontrolled urban teaching us, but also by the fascinating images of everyday life that, despite all, made his way in a world without sun[4]. In 1987, after several attempts over the years, the Chinese and British governments agreed to its complete demolition and create a park instead of the city (1991-1992).

Today Kowloon is a natural park created by the Chinese government in an attempt to bring a new life to that city.


[1] Hurst Marcus: “El Arquitecto de las Personas”. Yorokobu Magazine. April 17, 2011 http://yorokobu.es/el-arquitecto-de-las-personas/

[2] Colafranceschi Daniela: Landscape +100 palabras para habitarlo. Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili. (p.157)

[3] Girard, Greg: City of Darkness. http://www.greggirard.com/work/kowloon-walled-city–13

[4] Torrijos, Peter: Kowloon. Yorokobu Magazine. http://yorokobu.es/kowloon/