Plaza 2 de Mayo in the historic center of Peru's capital shows us how public and private entities can work together on urban renewal.At first, urban renewal might seem too grand of a term to use when talking about Plaza 2 de Mayo (Dos de Mayo) in Centro Lima. However, when we look at the various factors that are coming together, we see that that's exactly what's happening. It shows how the public and private sectors can work together to make improvements happen in developing cities.Plaza 2 de Mayo is one of Centro Lima's most important transportation nodes;, a connection/transfer point for combis and buses as well as a major traffic circle. It also has a large central area that has been frequently used during political campaigns for rallies and other social gatherings. Finally, small businesses fill the historic buildings surrounding the plaza.
It's the kind of place that gets an urban planner's mind going: multiple valuable city elements, sometimes conflicting, gathered together but lacking a unified vision.How can they be integrated? How can a traffic circle filled with noise and contamination be a more friendly place for hanging out and checking out the guitar you want to buy, or participating in a social or political rally? Can they coexist?The past week, the Municipality of Lima began working on a series of small but important projects in the plaza. These include a new bike lane which will unite with the one that already exists along Avenida Colonial and wider sidewalks as well as pedestrian crossing lanes.Other changes include the improvement of traffic lights, tactile paving to assist the visually impaired, and additional green spaces. The public bathrooms in the plaza will also be removed, favoring the plaza's transport uses over its social potential.These are basic transport and service improvements that we expect from the public sector, nothing truly special. That's where the private sector comes in.
“With this first purchase begins the recovery of this square because the idea is that change will occur in all the buildings.” said Arte Express CEO Fernando Palazuelos.So while the Municipality of Lima will be focusing on making the street friendlier to walkers and bikers, the private sector initiative of Arte Express will be looking to renovate the historic buildings.