Western civilization prevailed because of its emphasis on equality, Penalosa said. But what constitutes equality in today market economy?
-- Public good prevails over private interest.
-- Equality of quality of life (as opposed to income equality).
Among his principles to achieve those goals, "if you really have democracy at work":
-- Waterfronts should never be private.
-- Road space should go first to public transport, and if any space is left over to private cars.
A good city is "where people want to be out of their homes," in public space. And shopping malls don't qualify under Penalosa's definition of happiness, though he suggested they're better than no public space at all.
Penalosa said that beyond food and sleep and security -- the basics -- people need: to walk, be with people, have contact with nature, to play, and "not to feel inferior."
His vision of an advanced society, as opposed to a backward society, is one where high- and low-income people meet in all kinds of circumstances. Where the physical space is good for children, the elderly, and handicapped. (More than 200,000 children a year are killed by cars worldwide, he said.)
"A good city is not one with great highways, but one where a child on a bicycle can go safely everywhere."
Tom Palmer writes today about the recent visit to Boston by Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia. Penalosa's ideas about urban quality of life resonate for me and present important questions and goals for the future of our neighborhood and the impact of development by Harvard, Charlesview, and others:
Posted by Harry Mattison on 2/12/2009 12:28:00 PM