Public spaces open to citizens of all ages and status are of paramount importance for liveable and inclusive cities. They are designed and socially-constructed settings that foster social interaction and play. Inclusive public spaces provide urban dwellers in our ageing cities with the possibility of being active and participating in society. Flawed design that results in access and use restrictions to physically disadvantaged groups like the elderly or disabled, as well as contested forms of ownership such as privately owned public spaces (POPS) are examples of obstacles and tensions preventing urban public spaces being truly inclusive. Against this backdrop, this session will explore shortcomings in the architecture and management of public spaces, and innovative design and governance solutions to eliminate barriers and enhance access, participation and inclusion.
Image source: flickr, Ajuntament Barcelona, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.