César Mosquera. Foto:Suso González.
César Mosquera. Foto:Suso González.

‘It’s the future and doable in any city’

-Pontevedra city stands out worldwide due to their award winning city plan…

-In Pontevedra, we have built up a city plan, which would not have been viable 40 years ago. Long ago, the old town used to be pedestrianized first as though it was something separate from the city. However, we have overcome this kind of a concept . Mainly, due to the creation of what we call ‘dead zones’ So we have come to the understanding that cities need changing as a whole not only focusing on only separate parts of the city.  We need to work on road safety, children safety and independence and disabled people too.. and we managed to bring it all together within a new city planning which has been successful.  Where other cities didnt dare to go, we thought of it a lot, well ahead of time and went further than any other city after working out a thorough plan in time.

-Does this model work for all cities?

-The ideas do so. Because we dont develop our own ideas but universal ones. Afterwards, you have sizes, evolution times, idiosyncrasies… but we are determined to apply it and its doable in any city worldwide.

-Can you do it in large cities?

-Better than in the medium sized cities. Its not true that its hard to make big cities into pedestrian areas. Its easier. In a large city, driving around is only 30% or less . The other is public transport. To restrict or ban traffic would affect it much less on a daily basis .

-Cities like London are restricting traffic in the town center…

-Regarding London, I can tell you that its nothing like Pontevedra. That citys policy is neoliberalism: access to public services is measured by stealth taxes. Theyre seeking  congestion relief by charging a tax called congestion charge. In Pontevedra, the traffic is conditioned by the city itself and how well it functions with their inhabitants. Its not about stealth taxing people.

-How do you convince the city dwellers that it works?

-If you believe it yourself it does work.if not, you wont change any bodys mind. You have to be ready and well prepared, well laid out and planned from the start.  preparation is what makes it work well.

-How did you convince the local traders and business people it was good for them?

-Some topics are totally unrealistic. There was no action or movement by the local traders against us. In Pontevedra that did not happen. The traders association or guild of Zona Monumental went along with the plan.

-The urban models are making progress… Is Pontevedra leading the future?

-Every period of time has its own challenges. But should you scan the horizon of a generation, of lets say 20 or 30 years, which is reasonable in the history of a city, I believe that this is the project, which should be followed. Definitely its the future.

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