Cuenca receives international recognition of its use of public spaces; the city is singled out as a model by the United Nations Habitat III project

Nov 17, 2015

Cuenca has been cited as a exemplary model for its use of public spaces by international urban planners organizing next year’s United Nations Habitat III conference in Quito.

Habitat III cites Cuenca's use of public area, such as Parque Calderon.

Habitat III cites Cuenca’s use of public area, such as Parque Calderon.

The planners are looking for outstanding models for what they call “sustainable urban development for the 21st century.” The models will be part recommendations for a “New Urban Agenda” to be presented in Quito in October 2016.

Describing an impromptu break-dancing exhibition in the Parque Calderon gazebo, a writer for the Habitat project notes Cuenca’s laissez-faire attitude toward the use of its public spaces. In other cities, such as New York, he says, police would have been called to shut down the music and chase away the performers.

Writer Greg Scruggs describes the scene:

On a recent weekday night in Cuenca’s Parque Calderon gazebo, a half-dozen teenage boys trot out a speaker and begin blasting bass-heavy hip-hop as they try out fresh break-dancing moves in the shadow of an ornate Neo-Gothic cathedral. The police, who keep a watchful eye on the central plaza of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, quickly move in, but not to cut the sound and fine the dancers. Instead, the cops pull out their cell phones and begin filming, many of them smiling as they watch the teens work up a sweat.

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