Quito Parks


To the inhabitants of Quito, the parks and pets are no joke.

Sitting on the Quito sign in Parque Itchimbia.
Many Quito signs are scattered throughout the community.
Quito is a prominent urban area filled with many great parks! 

In my opinion, the parks here in Quito have a lot more to offer and are better maintained compared to those of the United States. The parks in Quito are almost always teeming with people during the early mornings and afternoons. Many families bring their children for a quick snack; children gather together to play soccer; teenagers even come to the park to make out. The parks here are respected and utilized by people of all ages. As a foreigner visiting these parks, I can tell that the park is a cherished locale for the people.

My host mom lives a block away from Parque La Carolina, which is located in the heart of Quito. According to The Metropolitan Public Company for Mobility and Public Works of Ecuador, La Carolina spans 165.5 acres and has become the most visited public space in Quito. Okay, are you ready for it? La Carolina has soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, a children's play area, an adult exercising area, a track circulating the entire park, a botanical garden, a Vivarium full of reptiles and amphibians, a skate track, a dog park, and a man-made lake where one can rent a paddle boat. I am confident that I missed many more attractions, but yes, I am thinking exactly what you are thinking: this park is huge! (Side note, I am a huge dog person and noticed that the dog park here is not just a dirt turf. The dog parks here have obstacle courses and little fixtures for dogs to enjoy!)



 I visited Parque Itchimbia this Friday afternoon to complete some field notes. Parque Itchimbia is smaller than Parque La Carolina, being 133.4 acres according to El Comercio Matrimonio. There are many playgrounds for children and an extensive route for cyclers. Nonetheless, I think the best part of el Parque Itchimbia is the amazing view of Quito it offers. From here, one can see El Panecillo (The Virgin) and the Basilica del Voto Nacional.


Always a beautiful, cloudy day in Quito!
This is the Itchimbia Park.
Surrounded by the beautiful volcanos and mountains.















Parque Itchimbia has a building known as the Crystal Palace or the Itchimbia Cultural Center. Today, the Crystal Palace was empty except for a bunch of scattered bean bag chairs everywhere. While all the children and their families were outside running around in the grass and flying kites, I was lounging around on a bean bag chair.





During Week 2 of classes, we learned about universal infant development, but also in respect to the Andean culture. Across all cultures, developing infants require high amounts of stimulants to promote the formation of necessary neural connections. In particular to the Andean culture, children need to become self-sufficient at a very young age in order to help maintain the household. For instance, I have noticed some parents bringing along an infant or child with them to help sell candy along the streets of Quito. Despite their economic condition, families and children of all backgrounds seem to enjoy the public places in Quito. I am so happy that such parks exist for families to enjoy.

For all the parks that I've visited in Quito that include Parque La Carolina, Parque El Ejido, and Parque Itchimbia, there has been one commonality that I've observed at all parks.  The families love bringing their young and older children here to spend time together. At La Carolina, I've seen mom and son rollerblading around the track. At El Ejido, I've seen mother, father, and little son play hide and seek with each other. At Itchimbia, I've seen families fly a kite together.

 At the beginning of the trip, my Professor mentioned how the child-rearing culture was different here since it was common for parents to leave their children unattended.  So far, I was not able to observe that specific Andean style of child-rearing. Most of my observations reveal that the families that live in the urban area of Quito utilize a Western style of childrearing. The families that I have observed have been very attached to their children and very rarely have they been more than twenty-feet from their children. Before I came to Ecuador, I had no awareness to how modern and urban Quito would be. Now, I can trace the elements that make Quito very modern and how the city frequently looks towards the U.S. for inspiration.

Comments

  1. So many parks! For the child rearing practice in Quito, I had different observations. Most families that I observed in La Carolina had parents sitting relatively far away from their children. These children, even not knowing each other, quickly formed a sense of understanding and played without parents' supervision.

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  2. The field notes project is literally my favorite assignment because it gives me the chance to explore Quito's beautiful parks and get a sense of the Ecuadorian family. It's so relaxing to just sit back on a grassy hill since there's so much to take in. Totally agree with your post!

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    Replies
    1. Great feedback Jasmin! I am glad you are taking full advantage of the assignment!

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  3. Your collective observations show the variation in parenting practices within and across cultures! Is it possible to be both attached, sensitive and responsive while also allowing more independence and freedom?

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  4. Out of all the parks I´ve gone to, Parque Itchimbia is my favorite one because it has many different sections throughout the park, and the fact that there were so many children present with their summer vaction camps! It was really cool too see children ranging from toddlers to middle school student were being taken out to enjoy some of the things that Katie mentioned!

    It was so refreshing to see these parks being filled and used in full swing. In the States, I feel that the parks are empty for most of the day, and parents are mostly just watching from a far. At these parks in Quito, there are attractions for everyone to enjoy. Quito definitely won in this department, and I will miss seeing these parks when I go back to the States!

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