Boston’s Downtown Crossing, Bogota’s 7th Avenue, Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula and Capetown’s St George’s Mall are just a few examples of an increasingly global and widespread phenomena of car-free main streets. The details of these projects range; some are pedestrian only while others embrace cyclist; some are more recent demonstrations, intended to test the viability of the idea in a particular context, others have been in place for decades; finally, some tout benefits related to public health and livability, while others face so much opposition on the grounds that they’ll have a negative impact on commerce that less contentious benefits around public health and livability never fully surface. Because of the diversity in implementation and contexts, these examples, and many others, offer valuable insights into the challenges and successes of implementing car-free streets globally.
Spurred by a course at the University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia where 18 engineering students have been focused on understanding the recent pedestrianization of one of Bogota’s bustling commercial corridors, 7th Avenue, CoLab Radio will be hosting a #citychat on Thursday July 17th at 11am EST, 10am COT (Colombia). This chat will be centered around what happens when cars get kicked off main streets in cities around the world. As part of their efforts to understand the recent changes to Bogota’s 7th Avenue, the Colombian students have asked questions such as: What are the different ways that formal and informal businesses are affected by the changes? How are passerby’s affected? and What are the environmental impacts of the exercise? In Thursday’s twitter chat anyone with a connection to or experience with a car free main street- whether as a planner, business owner, advocate, dissenter, or agnostic visitor– can share their thoughts and experiences on the ways these impacts have played out in their own contexts. The students from the University of the Andes will be tweeting about their observations of 7th Avenue in Bogota.
How to Participate
It’s easy to participate in the Twitter chat. Just follow #citychat on Twitter from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST (10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. COT ) on Thursday July 17th. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can watch the conversation unfold here .
Next week, after the twitter chat is completed, CoLab Radio will publish both the #citychat transcript, and a series of media projects produced by students at the University of the Andes that chronicles the experience of physically navigating Bogota’s 7th Avenue, the corridor’s history, transportation flows, and businesses. Be on the look out for it!
Update: The #citychat transcript can be found here.