The balanced city

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[POST BY Anne van Strien]

As people are part of the city bio scape, strategies for including the social aspect in the quest for a more bio diverse cityscape may be an interesting starting point. Looking forward in our research process, manifold examples can be scrutinized on workable approaches. A case in which a closer relation with our natural surroundings is searched for, is the Living Street in Gent. In this example, a street is turned into an extension of the garden, a common ground where people can meet and interact with each other and possibly also more with other animals and plants.

This example can be understood as a transition experiment towards a more in-balance city, as potential for benefiting all living species. Living streets are ‘test sites’ where new use of urban space can be tried out. Neighborhood residents work together to transform their street into a collective garden, temporarily banning cars to nearby parking lots. Their streets turn into temporary gardens, places to stay in, instead of being places where people only move through. As such, public space obtains new meaning. The test sites can expand over time, both in duration and in size, slowly but surely reaching out throughout the city. Seeing the city from this perspective opens up new possibilities to transform the urban space into a place with more room for life.

more info Living street Gent