Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Cochabamba’ Category

Cochabamba

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Cochabamba, at the heart of Bolivia, is a city founded in 1571 by the Spaniards, where a small Indian town -Kanata- hosted temporary migrants farming the surrounding lands. It is in a valley mountains all around reaching almost 5,000 meters above the sea level. Less than one million people live in Cochabamba, and almost half of them are migrants from other Bolivian areas. Its mild temperatures all year long make the city a cozy place to live. Plenty of sun in winter, scattered showers in summer, let people enjoy walking and biking in its busy streets and in the countryside, where small farmers cultivate a variety of legumes, potatoes, corn, fruits and raise cattle, chicken and guinea pigs. Thanks to such a variety, the food in Cochabamba is one of the real pleasures for its inhabitants and visitors. No matter where you go to eat, you can be sure that you will get flavor and abundance for you money.

Cochabamba is far to be free from problems. The biggest one: water. Less than half of the households have running water from the public company. All the rest have their own private or collective wells, or get water from trucks. This is the main source of urban injustice> the poor have bad access to bad water and pays for that the most, while the middle and upper classes have better acces to a beter water at a cheaper price. That may justify the so called “water war” of the year 2000, only that such a movement was lead and captured by demagogues more inte rested in building their own power and worsened the water situation. Still… Cochabamba attracts thousands of migrants every year because its location provides job opportunities for all sorts of traders and vendors, service providers and transportation companies. Particularly in La Cancha, the biggest market place in Latin America, where a customer can buy, any time, from one of the 200 varieties of potatoes cultivated in the area, to the latest electronic gadget imported from Taiwan, from silk ties Hong Kong made, to the Jabulani used in the World Cup. Cochabamba… a place where you are welcome with a beer and a salteña!

Sent by Roblaser from Cochabamba