Mexico

Mexican city puts “Placemaking” at the heart of post-pandemic recovery

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San Nicolas, Mexico, 26 July 2021 – Officials at this northern Mexican city are betting that a series of short-term, low-cost, and agile initiatives will create friendly and safe public spaces for people and cyclists, improving pedestrian infrastructure.

The “Placemaking Plan SNG2030” project is supported by UN-Habitat and the city of San Nicolas de los Garza –thus the abbreviation for the project name – and the technical assistance of the Placemaking Foundation. The project proposes new ways of managing, designing, and inhabiting the public space through their renovation, actions that the city has identified as a central element of the post-pandemic recovery.

Placemaking, or tactical urbanism, is a way to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces.

“Since 2019, together with the municipality, we have carried out actions to achieve the Vision SNG2030. Our main goal is to implement the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in the city and improve the quality of life of all its inhabitants,” said Samie Raichs, Program Specialist of UN-Habitat in Mexico.

The project will promote green and environmental culture, thus contributing towards urban sustainability and climate change improvement, a main theme of 2021 UN-Habitat Day in October.

The project could prove consequential as many cities around the world ponder ways to return to normality by gradually lifting confinement restraints and rejuvenating economic activities, work, and mobility under new conditions of hygiene, care, and protection.

Studies have shown that the probability of transmission of Covid-19 is reduced by maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between people. Therefore, placemaking actions have proven to be very useful to redistribute the use of roads, allocate more space to sidewalks, walkways, and bicycle lanes, promoting pedestrian or non-motorised mobility in response to the needs of the new normal.

“This plan that we carry out between the community, the authorities and UN-Habitat, allows us to make our neighborhood more pleasant, and facilitates people to be more interested in improving, working as a team, integrating ourselves and taking care of the environment. It is an awakening of positive values in our community,” Alma Delia Hernandez, a city resident, said.

The project phases, carried out collectively with the enthusiastic participation of volunteers, neighbours, women, children, local police, and students, will be monitored to determine the feasibility of expanding them permanently to sixteen more points in the city.

The Vision SNG2030 was recognised earlier this year as a global best practice project of the 2030 Agenda by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). Know more at https://unhabitat.org/two-un-habitat-projects-in-latin-america-recognized-as-global-good-practices-of-the-2030-agenda