Give Us Space! Augmented public space geographies in the changing public/private relationships

Authors: Manfredo Manfredini, Adrian Lo, Dory E. Reeves

The Journal of Public Space | Volume 3, No. 1 | 2018


The aim of this article is to reflect on and share the findings of the Networking Event ‘Give us Space: Augmented public space geographies in the changing public/private relationships.’ The Event addressed emerging spatial issues in the production of the public realm of contemporary cities. This topic has been at the centre of the discourse on urbanism in both humanities and social sciences for decades, reflecting the increasing interest in spatial problems that have contributed to the crisis of public life in the socioeconomic, cultural and political spheres. The recent pervasion of spatial privatisation and public sphere mediatisation processes require a refoundation of this discourse. 
The discussions addressed some of the key areas of concern raised by the New Urban Agenda (NUA) related to open space, focusing on socio-spatial problems in the pervading production of semi-public spaces in contexts of rapid urbanization. Using a comparative urbanism perspective that highlighted the expanding role of digital geography, it elaborated upon specific Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These are the goals concerned with good health and well-being (3), reduced inequalities (10), sustainable cities and communities (11), and partnerships for the goals (17). 
The event created a platform for knowledge exchange and networking amongst stakeholders. This aimed to 1) build capacity in both research and practice; 2) identify problems, limitations, and opportunities with respect to the various actors and stakeholders of urban public space; 3) highlight issues concerning less advantaged groups in society: children, youth and elderly, ‘differently-able,’ indigenous people, marginalized genders, migrants and socioeconomically deprived people.