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Public space & the right to the city

  • It is essential to promote social inclusion by providing spaces for people of all socio‑economic backgrounds to use and enjoy. Quality public spaces such as libraries and parks can supplement housing as study and recreational spaces for the urban poor.
  • There is a need to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of public spaces within cities. Through the provision of quality public spaces in cities can reduce the economic and social segregation that is prevalent in many developed and developing cities. By ensuring the distribution, coverage and quality of public spaces, it is possible to directly influence the dynamics of urban density, to combine uses and to promote the social mixture of cities’ inhabitants.
  • Rights and duties of all the public space stakeholders should be clearly defined. Public spaces are public assets as a public space is by definition a place where all citizens are legitimate to be and discrimination should be tackled there. Public space has the capacity to gather people and break down social barriers. Protecting the inclusiveness of public space is a key prerequisite for the right to the city and an important asset to foster tolerance, conviviality and dialogue. 
  • Public spaces in slums are only used to enable people to move. There is a lack of public space both in quantity and quality leading to high residential density, high crime rates, lack of public facilities such as toilets or water, difficulties to practice outdoor sports and other recreational activities among others.


- EXAMPLE: Corridors of freedom, Johannesburg, South Africa

This project illustrates the new vision of making public space an asset accessible to every citizen, in particular the poor. As a result of the apartheid spatial legacy, parks and public facilities were all concentrated in higher income neighbourhood while townships remain dense areas with almost no open green spaces. The corridors of freedom is an attempt to re-connect urban areas with access to recreational spaces and freedom of movement. While Apartheid policies created the green areas between townships to segregate, the corridors of freedom look to link them.  (More information here)