Sometimes actually doing something is just as simpel as envisioning it. Like imagining a life without cars…
We all know the phenomenon; a car free day. But what happens when your street is free of cars for at least a month? The inhabitants of Ghent, a little city in Belgium, tried this out with a project called ‘Leefstraat’ (Living Street). The narrow streets which were usually filled with lined up cars turned into a makeshift park.
“Creating a living street is a huge opportunity to strengthen the social cohesion” says Gysels and Deschamps from Lab of Troy, a “creative lab” for urban solutions. The fact that the inhabitants can use their streets as parks leads to much more intense contact and often becomes the start of new engagements. Furthermore it inspired them to experiment with different means of transportation within the city. With this experiment the people of Ghent want to see if a different use of the streets could make life in the city better and more sustainable.
This never-ending block party inspired Rotterdam to organise their ‘Droomstraten’ (Dream streets), an initiative aimed at attracting more young families, who enjoy the buzz of the city but are in need of more open, public spaces.
“Cities are the laboratories of the future,” say Deschamps and Gysels. “We advise cities to get together temporary networks of engaged people—frontrunners from society—who can challenge and inspire everyone in the city.”
Deschamps and Gysels, you two are officially our new heroes.