The Public(s) Space
Morgan Hannan

Blank slates with only one special feature: the community can create whatever use they like.

Public(‘s) Spaces are not prescribed any particular use at all. Instead, they are places where residents are encouraged to create whatever they desire. The functions, decision-making and maintenance is up to the people who engage with the area, allowing the encounters and unique creativity of the residents to take hold.

This gives permission to do the rarely allowed in shared spaces: to create, to build and to self-govern. They can become any combination; teaching, performing, playing, producing, relaxing or just a high-competition kid’s lemonade market. The ways people can explore and invest in their community are infinite. The different uses will be inherited, built upon or replaced as residents change and grow. It encourages a local cultural expression in a way that can’t be achieved by government or developer designed space; allowing the weird and wonderful of each community to manifest. Genuine, unique place-making.

It encourages a social networking and stewardship in our neighbourhoods, building resilient, connected and caring communities. Conflict over uses is great, as it means residents must meet, navigate, problem-solve and grow together. This idea encourages residents to not be passive consumers of a provided environment, but active participants in their society. They will be places that people love, because they will be places those people built.

When I think about the most unique, loved and expressive places I’ve seen in the world, they are those places that the community have carved in strange nooks of a city. The places that allow people to know themselves.

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