Due to the pandemic, the ‘Urban Activistas’ group realized “how much of our public space is given to cars”, especially in narrow streets with parking space on both sides. With the #StreetsForPeople initiative, the group aimed to give back space to pedestrians and cyclists in the city, and to ask attention from the city council to support this effort. They did this by appropriating areas of the roads and parking spaces in London Borough, which were originally intended for motorized traffic. To demarcate these areas, the group drew colorful shapes with water-acrylic paint and used tires and potted plants to create a physical barrier between these areas and the roads. The project didn’t receive the support of the city council in the end, but it has been welcomed and sustained by local communities.
Relation to Resilience
The initiative created a safer space for pedestrians and cyclists to move around during times of pandemics. It also enabled local citizens to spend more time in the open air and in green spaces. Finally, the initiative enabled the local community to appropriate part of the public space, sustaining it and feeling a sense of ownership.