Shared Public Spaces

Increasing enjoyment, ownership of and involvement in public space 

edinburgh gossip by ceesjw (Cees Wouda), on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  ceesjw (Cees Wouda) 

Lab Manager: Bela Kezy

Public space is what really makes a city: good public spaces make a city liveable, attractive for people and give it a unique character. As a shared asset, its core function is to facilitate participation in public life of as many people as possible. Unfortunately, though, urban sprawl and the dramatic proliferation of motorized traffic in the late 20th century slowly started to kill good public spaces. While cars have aggressively demanded more and more space, they have also simultaneously reduced walk in the city – one of the most important primers for social activities.

Luckily, more and more cities have realized lately, that this is a harmful trend that needs to be reversed. What’s more, this is something the municipality has to do together with its residents, and not for its residents. It’s the people what make a place vibrant; consequently the more we can involve them already in creating the place, not just using it, the more lively the place will be. Our lab at the URBACT Summer University will focus on this issue and invites participants to answer together related key questions like:

  • How can we recreate density and a more compact structure?
  • How can we reclaim city space from cars?
  • What makes a good public space?
  • How can we invite people stay longer in the public spaces?
  • And the million-dollar question: how can we convince citizens to take a more active role in place making?