The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Qualities that define Public Space

I am currently reading Ali Madanipour´s new book "Whose Public Space?" (2010, Routledge). The book in general investigates the making of public space through analysing the process of urban design and development. It is argued that public spaces should be accessible and developed through inclusive processes. Public spaces need to support certain qualities such as physical access, social access, access to activities and discussions, or inter-communications; and access to information. The first and second quality are most obvious - physical access refers to physical environment which everybody is entitled to be physically present; and second quality, social access, involves the presence, suggesting who is, and is not welcome in that space. The social image and ambient of the place can make the space more welcoming, less intimidating to wider range of groups. The third quality refers to place where the activities and discussions on its (public space) development and use processes are open to all. Thus it can be said that the "public space" is the place where public authorities are responsible for guaranteeing the existence of arena where citizens can express their attitudes, assert their claims etc.Through this function the arena enables the meaning of public space to express needs, interests, negotiate and understand. And finally the fourth quality - access to information - allows us to define the the public space as the place where information regarding its development and use processes is available to all members of society.


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