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The Living City of Santiago Green Map

I recently took my first trip to South America to celebrate the launch of the Santiago Green Map and it was full of happy surprises. The first came as I entered the freshly renovated historic building that houses Ciudad Viva (the Living City). Bright blue, it harmonizes with the colorful streetscape of the Bellavista neighborhood that was saved from freeway construction by Ciudad Viva’s director, Lake Sagaris and many of core members and board.

Right away, the staff gathered to present me with the first copy of the map! I was surprised by the scale of this map, which is actually a boxed set with 5 two-sided folded maps and a book about their four key topics of green living, active transport, heritage and civil society. Beautifully designed, these maps chart the city at large scale and invite the public to add more sites by calling the project Version Zero!

Later that day, we had dinner with Guilherme Peirão Leal, the president of the natural cosmetics company, Natura, who sponsored the Green Map’s publication and my trip. Joined by Pedro Villares and Guto Pedreira, respectively their heads of Latin American and Chilean operations as well as their sustainability program director and others, I found out how they are inspired by the Ashoka social entrepreneurship program to encourage many kinds of initiatives to thrive. We discussed their ingredients, packaging, fair trade practices etc and how their network throughout Latin America might be able to help Green Mapmaking spread. Especially with the forthcoming Open Green Map and tools like our Mapping our Common Ground book soon to be published in Portuguese, there are many possibilities! One group we’d all like to involve is the street recyclers, common in large cities everywhere, who understand the value of resources and do much to keep the environment clean despite their low status. What would they put on the Green Map?

We all met again for the morning’s press conference, an exciting panel discussion and presentation of the Santiago Green Map at the Contemporary Art Museum. I was thrilled to see the large banners and huge map on the floor, which just a few hours later had notes all over it, added by the hundreds of community members who came to celebrate the launch. A short film, live music and Green Maps made a lively mix! And, the Version Zero concept was already taking hold – and plans for community focus workshops and classroom usage will follow immediately.

Indeed, the very next day, many gathered in the bright blue building to plan more. We created an evening event with Mauricio Broinizi, director of Nossa Sao Paolo Brazil, a flourishing community indicators project to see how we all might work together, too. We enjoyed seeing a bit of the city and meeting with some of the leaders of related projects and networks, then went to the coastal port city of Valpariso to encourage both the development of indicators and Green Map projects there. The old center has recently been declared a World Heritage Site, and many community artists and design professionals are working hard to protect and restore its special ambiance and local color.

All too soon, I was on my way back to NYC, happy to be bringing a box full of this wonderful new Green Maps and connections to new friends and supporters in the distant south of the Americas. With so much to learn from one another, I hope the gathering we are starting to plan for late 2009 gels! Let us know if you are interested in this capacity building work or other expansion plans mentioned in this blog.

Read our Press Release:
Santiago Chile's Success Story and Open Green Map Preview (OGM_Santiago_ES.pdf)

Read the Press coverage:
Lake Sagaris, la gringa que le hizo un Mapa Verde a Santiago by Raúl Morales R., Las Ultimas Noticias, Chile, 2008
Experiencia de Mujer: “Uso ropa de segunda mano y no me pongo maquillaje” by Jessica Ramos V.,, Chile, 2008
Mapa Verde de Santiago registra casi dos mil sitios de recreación by Daniela González, La Tercera, Chile, 2008
Santiago ya tiene su propio Mapa Verde, Manos Mágicas, Chile, 2008
“Mapas verdes”: uma visão mais sustentável da cidade by Aline Moraes, Repórter do Futuro, Brazil, 2008

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