Futurespotters documentation: session on public spaces and urban activism

This is a copy-paste of the Pirate Pad of shared notes for the session. Thanks to all who participated!

Reference for Iare Pekhit: /t/futurespotters-workshops-the-aftermath/567/futurespotters-video-intervie-0

Elene: We found an ideological conflict between cars and pedestrians. The average Georgian seems to be mostly on the side of cars (see this video of a Georgian driver protecting his car from hail.

We, by contrast, think “a good city is a city where we like to be out”. We can’t prove it, but we think we would be much happier with a carless city.

There are huge parking problems: parking places are only 10% of the cars in Tbilisi! Also, there are safety issues, because drivers (and, to be fair, pedestrians too) do not respect traffic rules. Apparently Armenians are safer drivers.

Video of Iare Pekhit on the experiences of a pedestrian in Georgia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXbPW1PX2wU

Georgia is pushing policies like Green Waves, that optimize traffic flow, that were popular in Western Europe in the 1970s and have since been phased out. This in a context in which it is estimated that 71% of urban pollution comes from car traffic.

Uli, from the environment department in Georgia: Georgians react to shaming actions, would be embarassed by a video of foreign tourist walking around in gas masks and body armor because of dangerous and polluting road traffic.

Use city partners (Saarbrücken, Bristol) as examples. Bristol is a 2015 European Green Capital award winner

Iare Pekhit tries to cooperate with the authorities in a constructive way to preserve and enhance public spaces. So far, even small proposals have been turned down. In the UK some people go out and install DIY road bumps, or paint the street in bright colors to highlight pedestrian crossings. It’s a brand of activism that Western Europeans perceive as “radical” (Dion I am sorry, I don’t know how to spell it), but actually looks “peaceful” in Georgia (Nick).

Uli: even when authorities want to engage with the civil society it is not clear how to do it. There is very little in the way of coordination between NGOs.

Eric: also, after a while the drive to fund NGOs tend to turn them into competitors.

Gela’s organization: http://www.safedrive.ge/

Elene’s organization: http://www.iarepekhit.org/

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