“Children should be the center of attention when designing a city”

Pau Avellaneda.
Pau Avellaneda.

One of the keys to success in Pontevedra, its urban accessibility and sustainable mobility, is based on the technical accuracy of the city project design. In order for this project to go ahead, it is paramount the expertise of thorough researchers and urban experts. Pau Avellaneda (Sabadell, 1968), Ph D in Geography from the State University of Barcelona and with expertise in safe and sustainable mobility, is one of the authorized voices within this field countrywide.

-How do you lay out a plan for urban mobility?

-First of all, we have to leave behind the concept that the mobility blueprint for a city is based on traffic and other means of transport. The manuals, drafted regarding this issue, say we have to look beyond traffic, urban private and public transport, territory and urban infrastructure, we must consider also the flows of people around and within the city.

-The city is also an important space to meet people… Right ? 

-Sure!. you must consider other features when designing a 21st century city.  You must link the mobility with the public space. Namely, streets or roads are not only made for walking or driving. Theyre meeting hubs, recreational areas and where you hold other social and cultural activities.

-Health or well-being is important in this city equation… Isn´t It?

-Yes, health is important from an active or passive perspective. A city “taken over” by vehicles becomes a negative input in the quality of life of its citizens. Its as unhealthy as what happens to a passive smoker: He breathes a lot of smoke from vehicles and hes exposed to a high level of noise too. Likewise, this is the active mainstream : a city for pedestrians is a healthier city ; should the people walk more often, their health will improve.

“Citizens must have access to spaces where things are happening”

-What´s the role of local funds in all of this?

-You have to consider social integration. Citizens must have access to spaces where things are happening. If we block or make access hard for disabled people, children or elderly people they become second class citizens.And you cannot overlook the financial side of it either. People say sometimes they have a lack of government funding to develop these kinds of projects. But They don´t look closely enough at how much money they can save by implementing sustainable mobility : better health linked to walking more often, as Ive mentioned earlier, or less traffic accidents, that would definitely cut down hospital bills for the government and everyone else.

-What makes a better city? A city made for children and namely for pedestrians?

-Its a major improvement all the way and for everyone!   Children should be the center of attention when designing a city.

– Why is Pontevedra leading by example?

-Because they have invested in a 21st century project. Pontevedra is one of the first cities to have taken for granted mobility as an integral part of their territory.  The outcome here is plausible and evident; the city has improved greatly in all walks of life.


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