Small stores and cafes on the street promote people going outside at all hours and having small interactions. Supporting these stores is vital, as without proper placement and infrastructure their existence is compromised.
Restaurants and walking-only areas act as social hubs for locals and tourists alike. Warm colors, dim lighting and live performances promote socialization and strengthen community.
“Places with green spaces experience less violence, it helps to build community” says AISB Counselor Vera den Otter.
Green spaces and playgrounds are also vital for the development of children. In Bucharest, there is a lack of funds or interest for the maintenance of these spaces, leaving them littered and dirty. UNICEF underlines that green spaces, when equally available, help reduce the health inequities suffered by socio-economically disadvantaged children.
Bucharest is notorious for its traffic, another product of its poor city planning. Bucharest is the most congested city in the world based on the number of hours its residents lose in a year due to congestion.
Adoption of public transportation paired with proper infrastructure would solve traffic issues while also allowing for the space and all other resources used by cars to be used more effectively. It is cheaper, more environmentally friendly and is more accessible. It also allows for small social interactions, like the one shown above, to take place. It’s vital for governments to keep funding projects that aim to improve efficiency and expand public transportation.
Communities often take initiative where local authorities do not meet needs. Romanian NGO De-a Arhitectura has programs working with children, including state schools, teaching them basic urban planning and architecture knowledge, “increasing the involvement of future citizens in the planning and design processes that will affect their own living environment.”
Being aware of the impact of our environment on our wellbeing is crucial for increasing life quality.