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Construyendo ciudades mas seguras- Macarena Rau Vargas

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Macarena Rau Vargas - Building safer cities. When I was a child, I used to dream. I used to dream about changing the world. I used to imagine towns with flowers. I used to imagine towns with children. I used to imagine beautiful cities. I didn't know, but I was thinking about a change of paradigm. I imagine that you know... Latin America, our region, is one of the zones with most violence and inequality of the world. A research launched by United Nations in 2011 shows that we have 3 of the 5 most violent countries in the world. Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela. And what do the cities do to fight against this problem? The problem is complex, it's systemic. It's complex because when we have cities and neighborhoods with big social and environmental inequality, that affects violence. And violence has a big influence on crime. And finally, that gives us a lot of fear. So, how do we react? Naturally, we lock ourselves in. When we are afraid, the first thing we do is lock ourselves, protect ourselves. And that's what neighborhoods do. As we can see in this picture, neighborhoods get closed, they put windows, fences, and that scares us. Maybe by now you've already find out what is my job. I am an architect. And I was lucky to be the first architect who, 10 years ago, was trained into a Canadian method that designs safer cities. But this method is not related to armed forces. And is not directly close to police. It has to do with the city. It has to do with us. it has to do with neighbors. I would like you to think a little bit. To stop for a while to discuss. How do you feel in Buenos Aires? How do you feel in Argentina? Are you afraid? Are there dangerous neighborhoods? Going out at night scares you? This same questions are answered in the same way in a lot of Latin American cities. We made an online survey, a month ago, to find out how you feel in Buenos Aires and how do citizens feel. And I have interesting answers. Firstly, more than half of the people who took the survey said they trust their neighbors, and that they trust people they know. But also half of the people answered that, as an strategy to protect their houses or their lives, they put tinted windows in their cars for example. Or they put alarms or fences. And when they were asked about the best profession to fight crime, more than a half of the people also answered that it was police and army. And we asked about architects. And no one answered that they thought architecture had something to do. In 1962, a journalist named Jane Jacobs published a book named ''Life and death of American cities'' which is that image that we are looking at. Jacobs analyzes several cities of the world, really worried because she was observing that the modern movement was making buildings and sometimes people were forgotten. And in some way she says two very important things. That to feel safe in a city we have to recover something that we have lost: human contact. I need to connect with you. I need to connect with my neighbor to feel safe. And the other thing Jacobs said was ''eyes on the street''. To see and to be seen. You see me today. I can see you. I don't have a wall covering my visual field. I have a good lighting. In the city, it's the same thing. The CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) method is based on 5 principles, which are universal but they are applied culturally. The first is natural surveillance: to watch and to be watched. I see you, you see me. This is a picture of a country club here in Argentina. Is this a good or a bad example? It's a bad one. Why? What is missing in this picture? People, exactly. Natural surveillance. I can have the prettiest place but nobody's watching me. On the other hand, this other image is a school in Mexico. Kids are playing volleyball and they are having a good time. And they are looking at each other. Second principle: territorial reinforcement. Identity in the public space. We all want to put our own identity. What happens when we see a town like this, which is also Argentina? Which is the message? It's wrecked, it has garbage... Maybe people who lives there has a low self stem and they are scared too. So, what do we have to do? We have to fill our city with positive territorial marks. This is a market in New Delhi, India, where during a religious party they put colored soils and in this way India celebrates a national festivity. Third principle: natural access control. Why are we still using fences? Why parks in Buenos Aires have fences? Parks in Buenos Aires are beautiful. I've never seen such beautiful parks in other cities. Why do they have fences? It's not the park's fault. Why? Because we are scared. Are fences the solution? Or maybe we can socially build security? Fourth principle: maintenance. Why don't we think about sustainable neighborhoods? What do we do with garbage? Let's make recycling plans in order to give jobs to young people and keep them away from criminal careers. Fifth principle: activity support. And that leads us to the soul of the strategy, which is the native expert. Why do you think these playgrounds are empty, being new and so pretty? Nobody asked the users about them. And who's the user? The native expert. The native experts are all of us. The little ones, the big ones, the grandparents. Has anybody ever asked you which colors do you want in your park? Which color do you want your benches to be? No, because usually designs are already ready. What happens when you ask the native experts to dream about their parks, about their town? Things like this happen: in La Banda, Monterrey, Mexico, there is a very small northern community , we made a drawing workshop with kids. And Pablo drew this rocket. And the question was: ''Dream your community'' So that called our attention and we asked: Pablo, that's nice, why do you want a rocket?'' ''Oh'', he said, ''I have to fly away, and fly away quickly.'' ''And what happened to you, Pablo?'' And he showed us a scar. He had a big scar on his head. because he had been ran over twice. Why? Because La Banda, a small village, was imprisoned between a motorway and a big real estate development that increased the amount of cars without measuring the impact. Or this one. Look into his eyes. This is Jose. José is from La Mara, Honduran mara. Mara is a youth group that works for dealers or for hired assassins. Jose is scared. Jose tattoos himself. Jose searches his own identity. But deep inside he is scared. I met one of these Joses ten years ago, in the middle of the street, and he put a gun on my head. Do you think that Jose dreamed about killing me? Jose dreamed about hip hop dancing. And he drew a stage. ''Dream your village, Jose.'' And what did this guy from La mara dream? (photographed by Christian Poveda, a great photographer) He dreamed a stage. Because he dreamed, as we all can dream. He dreamed about a sliding floor, to slide with his sneakers. And that was his dream. What happens when we all dream? If we all could co-design our city, we would have the cloud of dreams. An initiative we started in Santiago in 2006, in which 10.000 kids dreamed. And in 2012, in Mexico, we made 14.000 kids dream. When native experts dream, they make real, strong, sustainable and safe projects. Like this one. (Text) ''World throws garbage at us and we give it music in return'' In Paraguay, Cateura, a group of kids organized by a music teacher recycle garbage and they make violins and cellos, and they play classic music. Or this one that we recovered in Chile, we recovered this space in Puente Alto... this one. This is my message today. It's an invitation. Walk with me the path of the native expert. Let's build together safer cities. (Applause)

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 41 seconds
Country: Argentina
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxRíodelaPlata
Director: TEDxRíodelaPlata
Views: 147
Posted by: tedxriodelaplata on Nov 30, 2013

Construyendo ciudades mas seguras- Macarena Rau Vargas at TEDxRiodelaPlata

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