The Pedestrian Dignity

By Miguel Rodríguez.

Like it was the last link of the alimentary chain in the surrealist jungle of the bad designed city; the pedestrian suffers rejection, attacks from predator cars, from the public transportation monsters, and also from cyclists with no sense of orientation.

If you are a pedestrian, you also have to endure the unusual heat of the sun, lack of vegetation at sidewalks, poor public spaces and depressing bus stops. Not many smiles can be found between the bored, exhausted and excluded faces that invade to this very common but lonely specimen (more than 64% of the people in Querétaro use public transportation and are also pedestrian) [1].

What have happened to this city, in order to make the pedestrian an depreciated been?, To leave the downtown area as the only place to feed its dignity, or sadly the malls, where we have built a special ecosystem with fake air, light and public spaces where people can actually dwell.

The pedestrian life development, and the importance that it has, has been threatened by a short term vision of the city, “this is America in the 70’s” [2] says Wyatt at the interview made by this blog to Studio de Arquitectura y Ciudad; by a politicization of roads, public spaces and the weakness of the city plan.

The pedestrian has lost its power in the city because it has permitted it, maybe because it doesn’t have a “shield” that defends its individuality, a car, a bus, or at least a bike; but that lack of “shield” could be the opportunity to transform this unprotected group to a group of “urbanitas” [3], a kind of warriors of the city that can make contact with other pedestrians, communicate each other and get organized.

Get organized to be pedestrians that defend their dignity, not with activism, but creating “circles of solidarity” [4], respecting and using what has been made for them, just to defend it: the crosswalks, the pedestrian bridges, the traffic lights, the bus stops. And to eliminate the bad practices that have made that other city users consider them like something without order, or coordination, like a zombie that can walk everywhere, wherever it can, without a voice.

We should defend, like many people in the city of Querétaro defended the fountain of the Jardín Guerrero, what is really important for the life in this city, we should defend each crosswalk, each broken  and tight sidewalk, each kilometer without a tree, each pedestrian traffic light.

As potential pedestrians, we, the car drivers, should try the virtue circle, fulfilling minimum acts of justice and respect (not tolerance) [5], making easier the life for the pedestrian, and urging them to respect themselves, arguing that if they don’t do it, they will be betraying the pedestrian “specie”.

Almost everybody knows the rules, but no one want to follow them in their daily life. Some hate this “asphalt jungle”, but everyone has made it that way. Everybody is in a hurry, and no one has the chance to do the right things. We all want big changes, but no one make the simple ones; adapting us to short term governmental strategies, when we should have an strategy for the next 100 years, waiting for the government to do the changes, when we are both part of the same society that live life without social sense, but individually.

Recently they have started a new media campaign from local and state government, that invites every citizen be respectful and gentle between each other: pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers; maybe since the death of a young cyclist weeks ago, and also since the pressure of some pro city groups and social actors. We don’t need to go out to the streets and protest, if everyone from his car seat, from his bike, from the street, transforms himself from a simple citizen to a social actor.

Tolerancia y Cortesía. Campaña Gobierno del Estado y Municipal de Querétaro

Tolerancia y Cortesía. Campaña Gobierno del Estado y Municipal de Querétaro


[1] Vázquez-Mellado Zolezzi, Jorge. El Nuevo Santiago de Querétaro, problemas y soluciones de la metrópolis. Grupo Qropolis. México. 2009. Pág. 107 | [2] Wyatt L. O’Day. #Conversaciones Armando Birlain SAC. UnLugar. Querétaro, México. 2013. 09’17’’ | [3] Armando Birlain. #Conversaciones Armando Birlain SAC. UnLugar. Querétaro, México. 2013. 08’47’’ | [4] Adela Cortina. Ética de la Empresa. Comunidad de Emprendedores. México. 2010. | [5] IDEM

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