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326 Healthy public space as basic principle for walkability in Mexico City
  1. Perla Castañeda
  1. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico City

Abstract

Background Car reliance is the most costly transport mode because of its negative externalities. The city administration in Mexico City (CDMX) has tried to solve traffic by increasing roads to prioritise motorised vehicles, thus, inducing traffic. Only 24% population drives cars, the rest walk, cycle or use public transport. Hence, there is an urgent appeal and grants for walkability and making infrastructure improvements to protect pedestrians to reduce risk of road traffic injuries.

Methods Public space has been studied from different theoretical perspectives. Revised literature has not related Health Promotion to public space. The epistemological and pragmatic approaches of public space have led to reach the materiality of pedestrian infrastructure as healthy public space.

Results Since 2009, I targeted efforts to produce healthy public space by detecting a case study aimed to regenerate a long sidewalk, with 45 years of decay that runs along an urban high-way. This potential footpath belongs to the second most populated borough in CDMX with 1.2 million, but mostly is the daily walkway of 1,200 students because their school is embraced by this public space. Once identified and brought in the authorities for this case study, the people’s involvement (the students) pursued a safe community that leads healthy lives within their surrounding. The government accountability represents central and local administration. In 2010 central government issued to the local borough officials the technical guidelines and the monetary quote for restoring the sidewalk, but local officials disregarded them. In 2011, we obtained the funds at the CDMX Legislative Assembly, but the public work (2012–2013) resulted in a poor executed pedestrian infrastructure that remains unsafe so far.

Conclusions Central and local governments are ultimately accountable to their people for the health consequences of their actions. People should encourage the potential for producing and promoting healthy public spaces on the recognition of a fundamental human right and sound social investment.

  • Safe Communities
  • Health Promotion
  • Walkability
  • People’s involvement

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