Sunday Night Poem: The Street by Hellman Pardo

Photo I took of a busy street with speeding traffic and few pedestrian protections, two blocks from where I was born. Carrera 13 y Plaza Lourdes, Chapinero, Bogotá.


The Street

Without saying anything you speak to me.
You say, for example:
– I’m made of rock and make men sweat
In the days without shade and the nights without birds.
No one gets nowhere;
They pour through my hands that monoxide of blood
That brings them life or perhaps death.
They fall in and out of love over my dawning ribs,
They shatter and mutilate themselves.
If that is your nature
Let me continue to be this stone beaten
by time.

And I say, with astonishment in my face:
– Don’t worry, I’m just passing by.

born in Bogotá 1978
(English translation by Daniel Latorre and Luis Latorre)


La Calle

Sin decir nada todo me lo dices.
Dices, por ejemplo:
– Soy de roca y sudo a los hombres
En los días sin sombra y las noches sin pájaros.
Nadie llega a ninguna parte;
Vuelcan por mis manos ese monóxido de sangre
Que les da la vida o quizá la muerte.
Se aman y se desaman por mis costillas amanecidas,
Se rompen y se mutilan.
Si esa es su naturaleza
Déjame seguir siendo esta piedra vencida
por el tiempo.

Y digo, con estupor en el rostro:
– No te afanes, estoy de paso.

por Hellman Pardo
nació en Bogotá en 1978
desde Poetas Bogotanos: Conjuro Capital, 2008

Digital Placemaking at Project for Public Spaces

Screen shots of recent Digital Placemaking projects in Baltimore, NYC, Denver, and San Antonio
Screen shots of recent Digital Placemaking projects in Baltimore, NYC, Denver, and San Antonio

In the past 14 months at Project for Public Spaces I’ve started up a Digital Placemaking practice, you can read my into post there to find out more on how I’m bringing Cultural Studies, Media Ecology, Open Government, and Agile approaches into Placemaking. We’ve done 5 projects in this time and the value and promise of this community-led online/offline approach is really resonating with the cities we’re working with.

Radical Urbanism & Right to the City voices from 2008

I’m interested in the connections between Urbanism and the public space occupation movements that have come to prominence in 2011 amidst the environment of our new Media Ecology that’s infused with fast flowing ICT networks.

This post and my last three posts mark a little exploration into these threads.

Below I’m just sharing my notes on this talk from Winter 2008 on how The Right to the City weaves together many approaches in a new way. It’s insightful in the face of Occupy Wall Street today in the cool Fall of 2011. Scan my notes below or watch the 58 min video, or both! Continue reading “Radical Urbanism & Right to the City voices from 2008”

World Charter for the Right to the City

(Liberated into HTML from one of the many PDFs of this document, this text in particular was found at on October 2, 2011. See wikipedia for more on the idea of the Right to the City. I posted this after mulling over the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City posted by the blessed unrest that is the General Assembly at @OccupyWallStNYC. -danlatorre)

[begin full text]

Social Forum of the Americas – Quito – July 2004
World Urban Forum – Barcelona – October 2004
World Social Forum – Porto Alegre – January 2005
Revision in preparation for Barcelona – September 2005


The new millennium dawned with half of the world’s population living in cities, and experts forecast that by 2050 the world’s urbanization rate will reach 65%. Cities are potentially territories with vast economic, environmental, political and cultural wealth and diversity. The urban way of life influences the way in which we link with our fellow human beings and with the territory.

However, contrary to these potentials, the development models implemented in the majority of impoverished countries are characterized by the tendency to concentrate income and power, generating poverty and exclusion, contributing to environmental degradation, and accelerating migration and urbanization processes, social and spatial segregation, and privatization of common goods and public spaces. These processes favor proliferation of vast urban areas marked by poverty, precarious conditions, and vulnerability to natural disasters.

Today’s cities are far from offering equitable conditions and opportunities to their inhabitants. The majority of the urban population is deprived or limited – in virtue of their economic, social, cultural, ethnic, gender or age characteristics – in the satisfaction of their most elemental needs and rights. Public policies that contribute to this by ignoring the contributions of the popular inhabiting processes to the construction of the city and citizenship, are only detrimental to urban life. The grave consequences of this situation include massive evictions, segregation, and resulting deterioration of social coexistence.

This context favors the emergence of urban struggles that remain fragmented and incapable of producing transcendental changes in the current development model, despite their social and political importance.

In the face of this reality, and the need to counter its trends, urban organizations and movements linking together since the First World Social Forum (2001) have discussed and assumed the challenge to build a sustainable model of society and urban life, based on the principles of solidarity, freedom, equity, dignity, and social justice, and founded in respect for different urban cultures and balance between the urban and the rural. Since then, an integrated group of popular movements, nongovernmental organizations, professional associations, forums, and national and international civil society networks, committed to the social struggles for just, democratic, humane and sustainable cities, has worked to build a World Charter for the Right to the City. The Charter aims to gather the commitments and measures that must be assumed by civil society, local and national governments, members of parliament, and international organizations, so that all people may live with dignity in our cities.

The Right to the City broadens the traditional focus on improvement of peoples’ quality of life based on housing and the neighborhood, to encompass quality of life at the scale of the city and its rural surroundings, as a mechanism of protection of the population that lives in cities or regions with rapid urbanization processes. This implies initiating a new way of promotion, respect, defense and fulfillment of the civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights guaranteed in regional and international human rights instruments.

In the city and its rural surroundings, the correlation between these rights and their necessary counterpart of duties can be demanded in accordance with the different responsibilities and socio-economic conditions of its inhabitants, as a form of promotion of: just distribution of the benefits and responsibilities resulting from the urbanization process; fulfillment of the social functions of the city and of property; distribution of urban income; and democratization of access to land and public services for all citizens, especially those with less economic resources and in situations of vulnerability.

For its origin and social meaning, the World Charter for the Right to the City is, above all, an instrument oriented to strengthen urban processes, vindications, and struggles. We call on the Charter to be constituted as a platform capable of linking the efforts of all those actors – public, social and private – interested in allocating full validity and effectiveness to this new human right through its promotion, legal recognition, implementation, regulation, and placement in practice.
Continue reading “World Charter for the Right to the City”