Making public space. About the same or about difference?
This text is about making public space out of and within the omnipresent entirety of space which is the defining circumstance of the macrocosm that holds us and that we inhabit. It begins with a propositional discourse on how that omnipresent space differentiates into public space and further articulates into human places. It concludes with a comparative précis of eight actual projects for public space as programmed, designed, realised and adopted for different purposes in the different socio-cultural and geo-locational situations of five established cities. The focus is on similarity and difference, or how social demands, human aspirations and design rationales for public space might depend on their originating context. It is also more about socio-cultural constants from which design approaches or, better, attitudes arise than the socio-political, economic or otherwise practical variables of procurement and implementation of public space, which are fleeting and fluctuate by time, government, and popular opinion.
The text is organised in sections, which form a collage of things that matter in making public space in the contemporary world which is essentially defined by the contemporary urban condition where global interconnectedness—networks and inclusiveness—negotiates with site-specific differentiation—otherness and exclusiveness. The order of the text is from general to particular, abstract to concrete, so as to set the subject matter in the context of the larger whole it belongs to.
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