The bollards, my father and the Norwegians | José Ramón Hernández Correa

A few years ago my father was walking along his neighborhood. It had rained and the soil was wet. One slipped and fell with so bad luck that his chest found in the fall a metallic bollard that broke a rib and bruised him a lung. The rib knit soon and the pulmonary injury was not very serious, but now, taking advantage of a few delicate moments of health, that old injury wants to return to make use.

For all this, these days that I him am turning to that idiot injure, I see bollards throughout. The sidewalks are really bristled of them.

Bollards |

And few kerbs and pedestrian crossings that are free of these “pirulos” have a car above. There is no urban corner that does not have a car above. Up to the cathedrals already they have to put bollards in his doors in order that the cars do not get into the major altar.

We live in a hostile environment, in that it is necessary to make the highest kerbs or obstruct them with pivots, in that every morning on having gone out of house we are greeted threatening by an excrement of dog, in which the drivers take advantage of moments died in semaphores emptying his ashtrays for the windows, that when someone, child or adult, finishes a bauble it throws the paper there same, where it plunders him.

Why are these things done?

Because the public space seems to belong to nobody and does not deserve care or respect. People do not think that public space belongs to everyone, and that we all have to keep it in perfect conditions to enjoy it, and that we all need it. No. It’s not mine, then I do not care.

The public space is the place where we make public life and relate to others. But we are confined increasingly in our homes, in our shelters, without wanting to know anything about anyone. So we are not society, we can not be collectivity.

We live in hostile cities and every time we make them more hostile. I’m not talking about vandalism, it’s not necessary to get so much, but the mere passive indifference, and the contempt that shows the majority of the population.

We can not enjoy common spaces that make us grow and mature politically, but we live isolated, each in his house, which is like a kind of nuclear bunker, and we go out into the street, with disgust and fear, as little as possible. The ideal is not to step on even the public space: Leave the garage of the house already mounted in the car, operate the door with the remote control and flee through the rubble of a desolate world.

In the car (another bubble of privacy essential for many who can not even bear public transport) we are still just like beasts.

It is useless for the avenues of the new developments to be paved well, with firm signs: We fill them with stumbles, “dead guards” and obstacles of all kinds so that the cars do not launch at great speed.

Would it be so difficult to arrive at the healthy conviction of not running, and circulate comfortably along the comfortable road instead of leaving the dampening, the direction and the nephritic calculations every hundred meters?

For that it would be better not to pave the roads. It would be cheaper.

Why do they have to give us a stick to the car every hundred meters?

Because nobody believes that by putting a traffic signal people will respect it.

(It must be said that the current attitude of our authorities in this regard is surprising: Since no one respects a signal or a rule that imposes moderate and sensible limitations, those signals and norms are exchanged for others with exaggerated and absurd limitations, thinking that they are going to fulfill better, as by an avenue in a residential area, people do not drive at 50 km / h, but at 90 km / h, because a signal of 20 km / h is set, and all are so horny).

It is also common to see that in a very wide space, so wide that two cars fit comfortably, there is one parked, right in the middle. So, so to gustito. (I do not see punishment or punishment high enough for these people who occupy two holes because they do.) Maybe some murder can be understood, many robberies and diverse crimes can have an explanation that leads us, if not to support them, at least to to understand them, but to park in the middle of a double hole is evil for evil, absolute evil, without justification or forgiveness, and to throw a paper on the floor as well).

I understand that Julio Cano Lasso said that the degree of evolution and progress of a civilization is inversely proportional to the height of the curbs of the sidewalks. I have searched for the appointment to make sure and copy it well, but I can not find it anywhere. I can not even say it’s from Don Julio; but I say it as they told me.

I subscribe; naturally. Here, in our beloved country, the curbs are never high enough. People scale them with four fours, with hummers, with panzers. Every time there are more climbing and more aggressive vehicles. They squeeze under the statues of the squares, climb the parapets, submerge in the crosswalks …

Now there are many areas in our beloved country (even in my beloved town) that have been paved to the same level, separating only the areas of circulation of cars, parking, bicycles, pedestrians … They have used different types of paving stones, with different arrangements (rope, spine …), and immediately everything has been filled with concrete planters, stone or foundry boloncios, bollards, spikes, etc., so that the space urban has become even more hostile and uninhabitable than before.

I guess everything I say is typical of Latin countries (which, on the other hand, we have a reputation for spending our lives on the street and enjoying it to the fullest). In the Nordics it is something else. The ensembles of the urban centers of Rovaniemi, Jyväskylä and Seinäjoki (Finland) moved me not only because of the wonderful architecture of Alvar Aalto (of course), but because there were flowers, and bike parks full of bikes, and there were no papers thrown away, nor were the cars went up where they should not …

In Bergen (Norway) the cars waited patiently before the pedestrian crossings in case I happened to cross, and waited until I had finished doing so. (Here, if by some rare circumstance someone lets you pass, you shave your ass with the rearview mirror).

In Norway I saw things that you would not believe: Parks with clean banks, streets with quiet cars, litter bins in good use, low sidewalks…

Here to do urban planning you have to iron yourself. To do urban design, we must start from a criminal profile of a citizen, of a beastly profile. So nothing can be done. First we should try to be citizens. That is, civic.

José Ramón Hernández Correa
PhD Architect and author of Arquitectamos locos?
Toledo · march 2013

José Ramón Hernández Correa

Nací en 1960. Arquitecto por la ETSAM, 1985. Doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica, 1992. Soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno. Ahora estoy algo cansado, pero sigo atento y curioso.

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