Luis Alfonso Saltos Espinoza
Observatorio Ciudadano por el Derecho a la Ciudad y Espacios Públicos de Guayaquil, Ecuador
Insight from "Reframing the Role of Public Space during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic"
Guayaquil is the city with most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South America, yet there is a lack of hospitals and resources. Luis Alfonso started a Twitter campaign with hashtag #FallecidosCovid19Ec to map undocumented deaths that took place at homes. Narrow sidewalks of 1-1.5 metres have become places where people put the bodies of the deceased because of the lack of space, cemeteries and people to recover the bodies, and also places to line up, this means no space to exercise proper social distance.
This pandemic has created opportunities for collectives to fight for changes municipality ought to make. In Guayaquil, the discussion in urban planners and collectives right now is to re-understand the urban scale, to adopt the concept of neighbourhood rather than city. With 45% of the population that work informally, informality and urban mobility have to be part of the designs. There is a need for a new urban design that involves city participation and public space that’s more comfortable for the people.