Last week, I met with a recent architecture grad who has a passion for urban planning. He spoke of how Huancayo has been haphazardly put together because the developers, who have the money, always win out over the planners.Dr. Joan Meyers-Levy of the University of Minnesota published a 2007 study in the Journal of Consumer Research on the effects of ceiling height. She found that high ceilings promote freer and more abstract thinking while people in a room with lower ceilings tend to focus on the specifics.
My architect friend suspects that a similar phenomenon happens with cities that feel large and spacious versus smaller, cramped cities like Huancayo. On the positive side, the narrow Huancayo streets encourage residents to be more sociable. Two other elements encourage community interaction:
- There are two centrally situated plazas, pleasantly designed with pockets of green and fountains, where people often meet, relax and chat. They hold a flag-raising ceremony and parade every Sunday morning at the main plaza.
- One of the principal streets is closed to traffic every Sunday for a 16-block fair with vendors coming in to the city from all the surrounding towns.
What does your environment bring out of its residents and how?
P.S. I’m heading to Ecuador for a 2-week trip to renew my visa. I promise to respond to comments and hit up your blogs when I get back! =)