City of 15 minutes: the streets of Buenos Aires and what do I know

And yes, Piazzolla was right. Today they have that what do I know in addition to garbage containers, dump trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, electric skateboards and some kamikazes that are called delivery.

Yeah, the city is a living organism, changing, although we do not realize it sometimes. At this very moment that you write these sentences, you are changing the way you park in CABAnew rules.

When I was studying the orientation of urbanism in the Faculty of Architecture -back in the 70s- there was already a discussion about metropolis, conurbation (fusion of several pre-existing cities), megalopolis and metropolitan area. But beyond the terms, the city is a system of relations and tensions that are constant and constantly changing.

But of course, when a “black swan” appears, the changes accelerate dizzyingly. And COVID 19 follows exactly that. You could go for a walk in our city before March 2020, and you didn’t see many people on the balconies -I look like Bladomero Fernández Moreno-.

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But from that fateful date, the balconies, patios, and other spaces that had not been used before were turned into gyms, ballrooms, and a hundred other uses. In some cases a property with a small balcony had realized its value by ten percent.

Many people moved into their weekend home and made it permanent, telecommuting emptied offices and the city center. Not even the famous “little trees” with their whisper: “dollar, dollar. . .”

The streets of Buenos Aires

But let’s go to the numbers. In CABA, a little less than a million vehicles are registered patented, but every day a million and a half enter from the province. The result is obvious: collapse.

Hay cities who chose to improve their public transport networks, for example the Paris, London or Madrid metro. In other cases by elevated trains, Kuala Lumpur case. Other cities generated large parking lots on the outskirts of the city and from there it was used by public transport, and in other cases automobile access was directly prohibited.

We can argue ad nauseam whether the pandemic simply changed or accelerated situations that were going to happen at some point. But the reality is that the city has a lot of chaotic. But chaos is always followed by innovative ideas: the city of 15 minutes.

15 minute city

A few weeks ago I was discussing the matter with colleagues from the University of Paris. It is not something new, in fact, in design chairs of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Belgrano they have been working on it for years.

What is this 15 minute thing? In summary, that a person can have their job, recreation, health, education, etc., no more than 15 minutes away on foot or by bicycle. As always, the library is divided into two parts and half argue that it is feasible, ecological, healthy; and the other half maintain that it is a utopia.

Chaos and delays on the Buenos Aires-La Plata highway due to four traffic accidents

Now, does that mean that if I live in Pilar and work in the center I have to move or get a job in Pilar? There are already many companies that allow the home Office some days a week and others, in some specific jobs, all week.

When I was a student, there was a time when, due to fuel, even patents did not circulate on Tuesdays and odd ones on Thursdays. And I tell you that those days the absence of fifty percent cars.

At some point, a political decision will have to be made on the matter, meanwhile the situation does not seem to change, let’s keep walking with Astor through the streets and see if we find the painted with half a melon on his head.

* Director of the Entrepreneurial Center of the University of Belgrano

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