Thursday, January 22, 2015

Urban Dynamism

"Adapt or die" –or “update or die”, to go with the times- is the motto that has been implemented in one of Salamanca’s neighbourhoods, barrio del Oeste’.  In recent years, it has grown from a neighbourhood like any other to quickly become one of the icons of Salamanca’s urban culture.

Neighbourhood Association "Zoes" which has come a long way since it was founded in 1977, is responsible for promoting the activity that characterizes this neighbourhood’s adaptation to new trends. The importance of this social project lies on participation and closeness. With this approach the organisation wants to transmit the idea that a neighbourhood is indeed more than just that: a neighbourhood is and is defined by how its people live, enjoy their free time, work, interact with others and by how they identify themselves. Barrio del Oeste is a social space where the protagonist is the neighbourhood itself.

Among the programmes that have been launched is the work of the group "Quedamos y Punto’’ (We meet and that’s it) performed by true masters of knitting. The action is known for being a surprise since anything can be knitted. It is a movement called urban knitting aimed especially at changing the aesthetic qualities of the neighbourhood and using the streets as their canvas, expressing the femininity of the neighbourhood as opposed to masculine feeling of already existing graffiti.

Here are some examples that you can see on the streets of Barrio del Oeste: trees dressed in recycled wool; a bicycle next to an English phone booth, both covered with coloured wool, and many more peculiarities that you can discover while walking through the streets. 

We also highlight the urban gallery displayed on the garage doors, security shutters and walls, all provided via a competition organised by Urban Painting Gallery of Graffiti and Mural Painting.
Here are our students of Spanish contemplating the paintings:

But there's more! Exhibitions, competitions, running club, travel club (next destination announced is Lisbon and Sintra), social action, "urban mile" ... It has also recently opened a new cultural centre to propose art projects open to the public, it’s called ”La salchichería” (the sausage factory, since that was the former purpose of the building).  

If you want know more about what Barrio del Oeste has to offer, visit the website of the association Zoes or this one created specifically for the urban gallery. You can also download this free app and check out two itineraries within the gallery.

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