The project uses interactive exercises to demonstrate to high school students why it is important for cities to be accessible to people with different physical abilities. We do exercises that diminish sensorial capacities such, and we evaluate the walking accessibility of the school grounds and neighborhoods.
Bogotá has undergone an important urban transformation over the last decade, which has lead to the construction of better public spaces and one of the biggest networks of urban cycling routes in the world. However, the capital of Colombia is still far from being accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive ability.
The Walk-Ability workshops are part of La Ciudad Verde’s Urban Sustainability Education Project, which aim to raise awareness among students between 9-11 grade about the importance of building cities for all pedestrians, and to encourage them to become agents of change for urban transformation.
The first workshop begins with a brief presentation about the major deficiencies in the urban design of Bogotá, followed by an interactive exercise where the students attempt to accomplish regular daily activities while experiencing momentary sensorial discapacity.
After a brief discussion about the experience of being disabled, the students are presented with a Walk-Ability guide of streets and avenues, which they then use to evaluate the environment and surroundings of the interior spaces in the high school. This guide is also distributed between students and professors so that they can each evaluate the streets surrounding their homes.
All of the information gathered will be systematized using a traffic light methodology (red = inadequate/incomplete; green = correctly designed) with the goal of constructing maps of Walk-Ability sectors, which will be distributed through the pedestrial portal TodosSomosPeatones.com*. This information will serve as input to support city planning projects that aim to improve accessibility, and will bring value to the participation and work of the students.
*The portal TodosSomosPeatones.com is a civic project lead by La Ciudad Verde, Cebras por la Vida (Cross Walks for Life) y El Combo 2006, which are all citizen-led movements in Bogotá.