Colombia

Parque Bolivar is a busy square in the Colombian city of Medellin. It may not be your typical city park, if there is such a thing. It's not primarily a place for walking yourself or your dog. It is also not an outdoor market, although all kinds of things, mostly food, are available. People come here to sit, talk, watch, and be seen. It contrasts sharply with your typical shopping mall (yes, there is such a thing). What makes it different is that it's not all centered around consumption. It's about various forms of social interaction. For all the advantages a shopping mall may have for the happy, one-dimensional consumer, malls have a strange social energy mainly because they are so one-dimensional. While it may be all we have in most North American cities, especially in the cold season, for some social interaction, it is a poor substitute for a living multi-purpose public space. The people frequenting Parque Bolivar you will not encounter in any of the big new shopping malls the city has. They don't have that global consumer air about them; in all likelihood they don't have the money. But a consumer space is not necessarily a great social space. Spend a few minutes in Parque Bolivar, where the pace is not frantic, people socialize, and individuals don't all fit the same branded global consumer image.

j vimeo.com/82193136

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