Oto Ozols

Oto Ozols, Pilsēta Cilvēkiem, architect

Oto Ozols was born and raised in Pardaugava, Riga. He has received an architect diploma from Riga Technical University, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning. During his student exchange program, he studied at the University of Liechtenstein. At the moment he is working in an architect’s office Konvents.
In his diploma paper, he created an innovative suggestion for protecting Engineers Arsenal (Daugavpils fortress).
Oto has participated in a project called Create Riga/Radi Rigu, worked in Agenskalns commune, developing a proposal for junction room transformation into a square – neighborhood’s center.
He is interested in city’s development and creating ideas for improving the environment. One of his recreation fields is participating in informal bicyclists work group in Riga that supports development of contemporary mobility in the city.
Oto is an active city person who likes to live in a city, feel its vivacity by walking or riding a bicycle daily. He is fascinated by learning about the history of the development of Riga’s structure and he also enjoys exploring the city.
He wants changes in the urban environment and believes that the city can be a safe, convenient and humanitarian place for every citizen.
At a time when the population of Riga continuously decreases, arterial roads planned in the 60’s and 80’s are still being built, it seems we are forgetting of contemporary urban environment. Unfortunately, such a development does not facilitate a steady inflow of inhabitants, neither does it work towards keeping Rigans from moving away.
Favoring a more agreeable residential environment people tend to migrate to suburbs while commuting to Riga for business on a daily basis. It is a challenge for Riga city to make an environment that would rise residential density in city center and discourage people from moving out of the city. The city needs development that will give us humanitarian and rational space for living in a long term.
City spends a fortune annually to construct mayor infrastructure projects, whilst it’s never clear if it really improves the environment we live in.
For changes to happen, the society needs to be educated and wise. There has to be a demand in the society, a desire to change something relevant. One of the obstacles are the stereotypes we have – there are narrow streets, the climate is not suitable, the changes can’t be done here.
Before & After illustrations show a glimpse of possible future scenario. It very well may be a tool to activate a demand for change within the general public. People often can’t imagine a scenario where an empty space on a street might be used otherwise. The streets and social outdoors are perceived only as a transit way from point A to B. The scenario tells about an opportunity to live in another kind of a city, and encourages us to imagine ourselves in new conditions. It encourages people to participate in searching for new arguments and opportunities to turn the city into a place where people would enjoy living.