I recently stumbled upon a TED talk that I found particularly interesting. It discusses how a civil engineer named Aziza Chaouni helped develop a project in which the river that bisects the city of Fez, Morocco is being revitalized after years of being used as a dump as well as being physically covered over with concrete slabs. It seems like Iowa City and other river cities that have neglected their rivers could see this as inspiration to increase walkability while improving the overall health of rivers in communities across America.
Here’s a short transcript of what Aziza has to say about the Fez River Restoration Project:
“As the project progressed and received several design awards, new stakeholders intervened and changed the project goals and design. The only way for us to be able to bring the main goals of the project ahead was for us to do something very unusual that usually architects don’t do. It was for us to take our design ego and our sense of authorship and put it in the backseat and to focus mainly on being activists and on trying to coalesce all of the agendas of stakeholders and focus on the main goals of the project: that is, to uncover the river, treat its water, and provide public spaces for all.”
Do you think projects like the ones that Aziza helped bring to fruition would work here in Iowa and across the United States? Would projects like this even get people excited to walk or bike more often in cities and towns?