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“What makes the plaza live?”

This is the third in a series of blog posts from our Runstad Center Affiliate Fellows class of 2015, who have just returned from their travels to Santiago, Chile, and Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, Brazil.

plaza life

It’s a hot afternoon. We arrived in Santiago this morning. After walking over three miles – did we tell you that it’s hot out? – the Runstad Fellows sit and have a cold drink at the edge of a plaza in the University District of Santiago, and identify aspects of the plaza that give it life:

  • Playgrounds, benches and grass are mixed together and thus ages and uses are mixed.
  • Three streets bound the plaza. One busy, two calm.
  • One side of plaza bound by buildings… including the café.
  • Apartments are small and young adults live at home. The plaza is the family room.
  • A wide range of behavior is accepted: sleeping, kissing, drinking beer, biking, talking…
  • Wild dogs wander and so do police.
  • It’s a hot day, and not everyone has air conditioning…