Outside my favourite restaurant in Medellin, in the neighbourhood of El Poblado, lies some of my favourite pocket parks.
With the government’s non-interference policy, the restaurant has taken up the initiative to take care of the place: putting in plants, painting it into various colours, and sweeping it every day. As a result, this is one of the friendliest, most welcoming and prettiest pocket spaces I have seen.
This is not an unique case, but speaks for the city and the country. This is a similar case with the street outside Casa Morada, which allows the community art and cultural space to paint the poles of street lights, and the street signs, making it much more friendly.
I saw a couple having their packed lunch, and a family spending time there. Part of me feel that
Just below it, another pocket park has been turned into a community gym, where men can frequently be seen pumping their muscles. Due to the government’s loose policy, this is allowed to happen, making a workout non-exclusive to people with a gym membership- which means it is available to everyone of different socio-economic background.
I believe that when people are given a sense of ownership to public space, they will take good care of it, and have a commitment to maintain it well. For me, grooming a sense of belonging is much more personal, and a much better way to take care of the city, than having security guards, dozen of NO signs, and gates to guard it.