During November and December of 2014 Días de Playa took place, a project whose aim is to recover public space and the appropriation of one of the most emblematic avenues of the city, La Playa, through ludic and recreational activities for the enjoyment of the citizens.
Thousands of cars, buses and motorcycles circulated towards up and down by the three lanes of the avenue. A concert of horns playing noisy melodies worked as the soundtrack of this daily chaos of traffic. The green tunnel of trees that guard the central lane, worked tirelessly to remedy the smog given off by the engines.
This repetitive story of La Playa completely changed on November 26 of 2014. That day, the city woke up making honor to the name of this street with the installation of a real beach with sand, sun chairs and colorful balloons. Right there, a blue painted street seems like water where human activities are performed.
La Playa was not always an asphalt road. Before the burial of the creek, people used to visit the zone to interact around it; that’s why it was named as an urban beach (Playa means beach in Spanish).
Nevertheless, in the begging of 20’s decade the government decided to canalize and pave the Santa Elena creek because of the new winds of progress that began to arrive to the city. Today the flow of the stream is still running, buried under asphalt, and even though on top of this street and the surrounding areas settles the highest concentration of cultural offer of the city, most of its space has been given to motorized vehicles.
In that context appeared “Días de Playa”, a city Project of collective construction, conceived by Pablo Tobon Theatre, located in La Playa, and financed by Medellín Mayor. With the closure of two blocks of the avenue –from the Theatre until Girardot street- for pedestrian use, it had been conducted cultural and entertainment activities, and the sharing of ideas about how people dream their city transformation and the recovery of the historical downtown.
In a interview for the regional newspaper El Mundo, Lucas Jaramillo, director of the House of Strategies Foundation, said “Días de Playa” are allowed new populations to take appropriation of the area, because during the time of the closure of the road for pedestrians, there was an increase of the 90% of public presence in the sector. He also said that security in La Playa improved, allowing, for example, people use their cell phones while as they walked calmly by this iconic street of the city.
Días de Playa, became an innovating project in the region, which in its pilot phase between November and December of 2014, generated awareness about the appropriation of space through ecological, recreational and artistic strategies that stimulate future changes in Medellin, Colombia.