Every Sunday along with every public holiday in Bogota, Columbia, a major stretch of the main streets are closed off to traffic so that cyclists, roller bladers, dog walkers, runners, singles and families can rule the day. It sets up a car-free network of cycle routes affectionately known as ciclovia. The simple exercise of turning off the traffic for the day brings some two million people to the area each and every week. It blends wealthy and poor alike. And the city serves up activities like free fitness and other initiatives.
Downtown St. Louis needs something like this. A vision if you will. I can see farmer’s market(s), street yoga, tribal dancing, tweet-ups, meet-ups, beer and wine tasting, food marathons and every kind of artisan you can image. Lined up and down the streets with no particular cadence – just a free for all come and go as you please congregation of awesomeness. I can see open mic poetry and improv. I can see street performers. So many ideas…
St. Louis needs something that people can refer to as place. They need to create place. Not just any place. It needs to be intimate with scalability. Something or somewhere that demands the attention of the broader region. But something that forces people to get out of their cars and comfort zones.
I need help with a name. Something catchy like Portland’s First Thursday. Something that speaks to the essence of the event – creating community. Something that compels people to participate. Be it for exercise, education or inebriation – something that an eclectic mix of people can identify with. Something they can connect with. And something they would want to do over and over.
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