Jose Chong
Sohel Rana
Mark Ojal


The state of our cities and towns is a significant determining factor of the health and wellbeing of most of the world’s population in the twenty-first century. Cities and towns have become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has put to test the current urban development model including mobility, urban form, urban food systems and local economy. Cumulative social, economic and environmental inequalities reinforced by chronic spatial injustice have shaped exposure, vulnerability and ultimately, the risk and outcome of non-communicable, and infectious diseases. In the same context, green and public spaces have emerged as an infrastructure of opportunity to build back better, especially in low income and minority communities. This article looks at the impacts, responses and pathways for future-proofing cities and human settlements through green, and public spaces.


How to Cite
Chong, J., Rana, S. and Ojal, M. (2020) “Public Spaces as an Invaluable Resource for Delivering Healthy and More Equitable Cities and Communities”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), pp. 227–232. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i3.1415.
Author Biographies

Jose Chong, UN-Habitat

José Chong works as Programme Management Officer for the Global Public Space Programme at the Planning, Finance and Economy Section of UN-Habitat. He leads the development of new tools for public space assessments/city-wide strategies and applies innovative methodologies for community participation/collaborative urban design. He is the Section focal point for Latin American countries and Arab States. He has over 20 years of working experience with the private sector, non-profit organizations and local/national governments. He was also lecturer on Architecture & Urban Design, Human Settlements and Bioclimatic Urbanism. He is trained as an urban planner and licentiate architect (Ricardo Palma University) with master studies in Renewal Energies, Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism (Universidad Internacional de Andalucía), and International Cooperation and Urban Development (Technical University of Darmstadt) with specialization on Sustainable Emergency Architecture (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya).

Sohel Rana, UN-Habitat

Sohel Rana has been working as a professional urban planner since 2006. He studied Urban and Rural Planning (Bachelor) in Khulna University, Bangladesh and Urban and Regional Planning (Masters) in University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA. His areas of expertise are strategic urban planning, public space planning, participatory processes, urban informality and emergency planning. Since 2013, he has been working as an Urban Development Specialist for the Urban Practices Branch of UN-Habitat. He managed the “Urban Planning for City Leaders Training Programme” and the “Global Public Space Programme” in the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean regions from 2013-2017. Since 2018, he has been managing urban development planning and public space management projects in Bangladesh. Mr. Rana has previously worked with local government institutions in Bangladesh and has strong knowledge and experience in local level planning and governance. He has 19 research publications to his credit.

Mark Ojal, UN-Habitat

Mark is a versatile, inquisitive and self-motivated graduate urban designer with an interest in research, education and advocacy for sustainable urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa. He possesses strong analytical, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills developed through local and international practice cutting across the policy and technical advisory, research and grassroots activism continuum. He loves championing unlikely alliances. He connects ideas, people and places – bringing together policy makers, practitioners and the civil society and community groups to an understanding of common challenges, opportunities and overlapping ambitions. Mark is competent in designing, executing and analysing quantitative and qualitative research projects and interventions, and employing both scientific and creative methodologies in participatory action research. He is a PhD researcher in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. His interest areas include urban futures, urban risk, places for people and urban governance.


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