Luisa Bravo
Maggie McCormick
Fiona Hillary


This ‘Art and Activism in Public Space’ special issue of The Journal of Public Space reflects the dilemmas of the COVID-19 era and its impact on public space across the globe. While this issue’s beginnings were pre-COVID, its publication was impacted by the pandemic both in its timeline and in how the portfolios and articles will be read through a new lens. This issue presents a collection of projects from across Estonia, Finland, Italy, China, United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Mexico, United States of America, Colombia, Japan, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Poland, Egypt. The portfolios and articles assert the important role of multidisciplinary inquiry and the integration of practice and theory in the investigation into and the active creation of, the complex and changing state of public space. The experience of a global pandemic and the increase in digital networks has led to a reviewing of the role of public space and fostered speculation on new approaches to public space culture.


How to Cite
Bravo, L., McCormick, M. and Hillary, F. (2020) “Reviewing and Speculating on Public Space Futures through a New Lens”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(4), pp. 1–6. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i4.1445.
Author Biographies

Luisa Bravo, City Space Architecture

Luisa Bravo is a global academic scholar and educator, a social entrepreneur and a passionate public space activist. After completing her PhD, with a thesis on contemporary urbanism, at University of Bologna in Italy (2008), she has been researching, teaching and lecturing in several Universities, in Italy and Europe, the United States, Middle East, Asia and Australia. Visiting scholar at IURD - Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California Berkeley (USA, 2012), Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at University of Florence (Italy, 2013-current), Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Design at the Lebanese American University (Lebanon, 2015), Adjunct Associate Professor and Endeavour Executive Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology (Australia, 2016-19), Instructor for the Advanced Urbanism Studio at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden, 2018), Luisa is Founding Member and President of City Space Architecture,a non-profit organization based in Italy with a mission to studying, making, spreading and sharing public space culture, through an interdisciplinary approach, involving art and architecture. She is the Founder, Editor in chief and Journal Manager of ‘The Journal of Public Space’, the first, academi, open acess journal dedicatd to public space, established by City Space Architecture in partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. 
Luisa is a renowned speaker at major UN-Habitat global summits, such as Habitat III conference in Quito (Ecuador, 2016), 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia, 2018), 2nd Saudi Urban Forum in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia, 2018), 1st UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi (Africa, 2019), 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi (UAE, 2020). She was also selected and invited to attend the 26th UN-Habitat Governing Council in Nairobi (May 2017), the High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York (September 2017) and the Expert Group Meeting on public space promoted by Ax:son Johnson Foundation and UN-Habitat in Angelsberg (Sweden, 2018). Luisa’s lecture ‘Stand up for Public Space!’ - www.standupforpublicspace.org - has been included in the UN Habitat Global Urban Lectures series (season 4 - 2017), one of the UN-Habitat’s most publicly shared online outreach initiatives. 

Maggie McCormick, RMIT University

Maggie McCormick is an academic, artist, curator, writer and researcher who has exhibited, curated and undertaken research projects, presentations and publications in Australia, Europe, Asia and South America. McCormick holds a PhD from the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne and is Adjunct Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and Hon. Professor at Reutlingen University, Germany. She established early innovative public space art interventions with the City of Melbourne, beginning with No Vacancy in 1990 and extending into urbanart local and international public space projects, that ran until 2006. https://bit.ly/3jXkLwo The regularly changing program made claim on vacant shops, tram shelters, staircases and other vacant non-art public spaces. Her research focus currently is on how art practice contributes to understandings of the changing nature of urban consciousness and conceptualisation of public space in an urbanized and digitalized world. Together with Professor Henning Eichinger, Reutlingen University, Germany, she initiated and co-curated SkypeLab 2014-2019 that created a global network of universities (Australia/Germany/China/Colombia/Brazil/Spain) and its predecessor Skypetrait (Australia/Germany) 2012-2013. www.skypelab.org Recent exhibitions include 1000 Pixel exhibition at the State Representative of Baden-Württemberg Berlin, Germany. Recent publications include ACT: Activating City Transience in Cameron Cartiere, Leon Tan (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Art in the Public Realm 2020 and Carto-City Revisited: unmapping urbaness 2017 in Elizabeth Grierson (ed.) Transformations: Art and the City. McCormick is a Strategic Advisory Board member of The Journal of Public Space (City Space Architecture, Italy and UN-Habitat) and Co-editor of the Art and Activism in Public Space for The Journal of Public Space's special series.

Fiona Hillary, RMIT University

Fiona Hillary is a lecturer and Industry Fellow in the Master of Arts - Art in Public Space at the School of Art, RMIT University. Fiona curates the Urban Laboratory for RMIT University’s Centre for Art, Society and Transformation. The Urban Laboratory uses live test sites of practice to explore urban contexts engaging art practices in a research and project delivery model in partnership with local government. She is a practicing public artist, collaborating on range of temporary and permanent investigative projects. Her most recent work 37°57'02.5"S 144°38'02.0"E marks the beginning of a creative cartography for the future. Fiona's research interests are in collaborative practice, the use of socially-engaged art practice as research methodology in public spaces with a specific focus on temporary installations. Fiona is a PhD Candidate at Deakin University exploring the role creative practice holds in our rehearsal of the future. With Shanti Sumartojo she co-authored the paper Empty-Nursery Blue: On atmosphere, meaning and methodology in Melbourne street art published in Public Art Dialogue, (2014: 4: 2 :201-220).

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