- City Space Architecture
Public space is a more and more an emerging issue in our contemporary societies and it is a key element for sustainable urban development. On one hand we record the increasingly privatisation of the domain in direct and indirect ways; on the other hand the lack of facilities to access, live and enjoy the public space often isolate communities, limiting their freedom to engage into the public sphere. We mainly refer to public space's cultural richness, identity and diversity, but in our contemporary times public space is dealing more and more with inequalities, poverty and conflicts. Public spaces are meant to be open, inclusive and democratic, but today we see physical, social and economic barriers that challenge the true nature of public space: economic issues, social and cultural segregation, huge real estate investments, privatization trends and gentrification processes are dominating aspirations of local communities and different social groups. We also experience theoretical barriers to an open discussion on public space: the discourse is often limited to specific national or linguistic areas and the dominance of exempla from the so-called global West or global North are limiting our knowledge about public space, often imposing an oversimplified view of public space design, management and use.
Those barriers, physical and theoretical, are a threat to our communities in terms of access to basic needs; they are also an obstacle for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and its principles. In the time of urbanization, we must rethink what urban equity might mean.
The proposed networking event will present several researches and case studies intended to highlight strategies to deal with inequalities in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable urban environments: accessibility and inclusiveness for people with physical or mental disabilities, for children, young adults, women and older persons; segregation of social groups, economic inequalities due to privatization and gentrification trends; conflicts; accessibility through adequate mobility. After the brief presentations, attendees will be divided in several groups, in order to properly discuss the different topics introduced by different speakers. All groups will be asked to share outcomes of their discussion, to identify strategies that can meet the needs of different groups or strategies that can address multiple instances of inequalities at once.
This event is intended to be an effective contribution to the discussion related to improvement of human health and well-being, overcoming discrimination and inequalities, thus giving rights to vulnerable community-groups. Those references are relevant both for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and for the achievement of the SDGs.