I believe in lively cities

Pedro Ruiz Aldasoro

Let me say that I do not believe in city planners. I believe that they are important but the city is an organism. It is alive. In Bilbao for example the planners decided to put along the river buildings and houses for people. Well, I do not believe in that also. I believe that city has own systems. People need shops, universities, infrastructure… But the planners put silos everywhere. Here they put education. Here put parking. Here people to go to the shops. It feels like that. It is awful. These are not cities. These are only things that are in the cities.

Bilbao thought that the opportunity was to put together at least houses and shops. So there was a life surrounding new buildings. And it has worked. There is life in the night.

I think that it is the best think to do and also my advice is that if there are any empty places in city they have to be given to the young people. Or they should be sold very cheap to the young people. And they will develop them. It is like Greenwich Village in New York or many similar places. The life is from bottom to up. It is not from up to bottom. Never.

If the city planners decided that all the cities in the world will like airports, same shops, same products, Chinese products, all the same. Then there would be no differences. People from Bilbao would have bigger or smaller but not a different style. Cities would be the same.

Every city has to develop its own personality. And it has to have something to offer to the rest of the world. I would like to go to your city and see if it is different from mine. But if I would go to your city see there a new Guggenheim and a new skyscraper from César Pelli I would feel like it is better to stay at home. If there are no differences it is not interesting in my opinion.

I think that there is a big opportunity in the new development of cities because cars are changing their role in the cities. We are discovering a new mobility of people. I remember that in Aarhus in Demark the university was very mixed with the city. Big place here, small place here, another university there. I like that city. It is beautiful. And it is a lively city. I mentioned Aarhus because it is moreless like Bilbao in number of citizens. I believe in lively cities.

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Pedro Ruiz Aldasoro

Pedro Ruiz Aldasoro

Director of Creativity Zentrum in Bilbao, Spain

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