Introducing our Mexico Correspondent Desirée Azul!
Here at Pedestrian Space we recently launched a Global Walkability Correspondents Network, as a way to build solidarity among walkability advocates around the world and continue to create media on sustainable mobility and urbanism.
We are so grateful to welcome Querétaro-based Desirée Azul on board as our Mexico Correspondent. Read on for some of her thoughts as we launch this network.
I am a nature lover and photographer who recently accepted her passion in urbanism. Now I see the endless benefits of a sustainable, walkable and well-designed city for both humankind and mother nature. I have a curious mind and an explorer spirit that encourage me to think outside the box, since there’s where the most fun happens.
I studied environmental technology but I soon found out lab coats were not my thing. I felt like I needed to express something so I studied french and joined a theatre company. Soon after I began my studies in Media and Communication. After three decades on Earth, I now understand is time to convey my passion for nature and help my fellow humans thrive not survive. How? Aiming for better cities! Cities for people and the community.
I am from Mexico City and I’ve lived most of my life in Querétaro. Like any regular city in the world, Querétaro has been growing more and more every year. The traffic jams that we have are unbearable and the solution in most cases is, of course, building more roads.
There have been renovations on public transport but most of them end up being just a flashy design with no actual convenience for the users. This means lots of time and money going to waste and people still taking up to three hours to get back home after work. Talk about quality of life.
I love cycling but making the bike my main way of transport in this city would be unsustainable due to the lack of infrastructure and cycling culture. Cyclists using either a sidewalk or one of our few bike lanes have died because of the poor infrastructure conditions.
A year or two ago, there was a city’s campaign called “Vive la Calle”. It talked about how pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and car drivers could equally enjoy the streets of our city. This campaign planted the seed in me because of all the inconsistency between their words and the reality. Not even car drivers enjoy the city. It is all a hot mess.
On the other hand, there are very few public spaces or parks in the state of Querétaro. People deserve the option of relaxation in nature. Cities and life in cities can be stressful but nature helps to release the tension and helps us feel better. Green spaces are key. I will be representing Querétaro city and surroundings (Mexico City every once in a while, and Guanajuato) as well as Oaxaca, the most beautiful state in the country, where my grandparents live
I used to think nature photography could be my way to help increase awareness around global warming but I would end up feeling constrained and sad. I felt so small and the issues so big, I would wonder if the juice was worth the squeeze.
Meanwhile, the streets and human behavior came to my attention very casually. You appreciate your streets differently when you commute by bike and that’s what I did for many years. The streets didn’t always feel safe for me and of course, my mom would get very worried because, commuting by bike in Querétaro is either for nature freaks trying to save the world, poor citizens, and crazy folks. Risking your life makes no sense.
Some of my friends were struggling with public transport. They were late for work and it would take ages to get back home. Some drivers wouldn’t accept their student ID for the discount. My mind would go crazy. Why can’t they (the government) just make things right? Why is there always an issue when it comes to commuting? Why do I need to pray for my life while using my bike? Why can’t I go and lay in the grass or under the shadow of a tree? Oh right, there’s no grass, and trees are being cut down for the sake of roads. Enough.
Desirée is a curious and stubborn spirit that finds peace in nature. She has always daydreamed about a better world for both nature and humankind but used to think there was no salvation at all. Urbanism gave her hope and a sense of purpose, that there is finally a method to her madness and changing the world doesn’t sound so crazy after all.
Read Querétaro, Mexico Correspondent Desirée’s content here
Learn more about the Global Walkability Correspondents Network here