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COVID-19

2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic

An initiative jointly developed by City Space Architecture
and The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture
Co-funded by the RGC Fund Project: "Built Environment and Planning for Healthy Cities", School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Curated by Luisa Bravo and Hendrik Tieben
 
in partnership with (alphabetical order)
 

A Cidade Precisa de Você, Brazil
Centre for the Future of Places, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
, Sweden
Cluster for Sustainable Cities, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
co+labo radović, Architecture and Urban Design Laboratory, Keio University, Japan
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, & Orville Simpson Center for Urban Futures, University of Cincinnati, USA
Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization
, USA
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, The British University in Egypt (BUE), Egypt
Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly, Greece
Department of International Urbanism, University of Stuttgart, Germany
ETSAB Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain
I-AUD, Meiji University, Japan
Integrated Urbanism & Sustainable Design (IUSD), Cairo Lab, Ain Shams University, Egypt
Observatorio Ciudadano por el Derecho a la Ciudad y Espacios Públicos de Guayaquil, Ecuador

Public Space Research Group
, Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center of City University of New York, USA
QUT Design Lab, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Research LAB for Urban Settlements and Landscapes, Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
RMIT University, School of Art, CAST - Contemporary Art and Social Transformation Research Group, Australia
Urban @ Parsons, The New School, USA
Urban Commons Lab, University of Washington, USA
Urban Design | Public Space, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Netherlands
Urban Relational Informatics Lab, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Urban Synergies Group, Australia

in collaboration with (alphabetical order)

Lance Jay Brown, Davisi Boontharm, Josefine Fokdal, Tigran Haas, Maurice Harteveld, Mona Helmy, Fiona Hillary, Jeff Hou, Kevin Hsu, Timothy Jachna, Min Jay Kang, Merham M. Keleg, Astrid Ley, Setha Low, Michael Mehaffy, Alessandro Melis, Gregor H. Mews, Fabiano Micocci, Maggie McCormick, Manfredo Manfredini, Miquel Marti Casanovas, Vikas Mehta, Miodrag Mitrasinovic, Estanislau Roca, Luis Alfonso Saltos Espinoza, Laura Sobral, Darko Radović, Vaso Trova, Charles R. Wolfe.

***

On 8-13 February 2020 our publisher City Space Architecture participated in the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi as an exhibitor, and in collaboration with 16 global institutions  promoted the exhibition 'PUBLIC SPACE IS VITAL FOR AN EQUITABLE URBAN FUTURE' - read a full report here.
On April 7, while about 40% of global population was under coronavirus lockdown, we announced our brand new initiative '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'.

Description of the initiative
Social distance dictated by COVID-19 health emergency affects access to public space and with it creating a range of impacts on different levels. While global lockdown is destabilizing economy and challenging country leaders, at the human level the pandemic is generating isolation and loneliness, with a significant raise of helplessness and fear. Everyone is asked to stay home and rearrange daily routines and work activities in indoor domestic spaces, looking at the world from behind a window.  
People are dying alone, numbers are increasingly high. Outdoor physical activities are no longer allowed. Many governments seem to lack proper strategies to manage the risk of massive contagion. In the Global South the poor living in informal settlements have scarce access to water, washing hands could be dangerously impossible.
What is the future of public space? How can we face this unprecedented emergency and get prepared to its consequences, in specific regard to health disparity? Public space restrictions will stay in place after recovering from the pandemic?
Is there something we can do now all together?
We, public space scholars and activists, believe that we can build social and health resilience by establishing an open environment for discussion and learning, while taking advantage of technology and virtual platforms that many can currently access for free. As the pandemic moves across different continents and urban conditions, we can share experiences from places where the virus had hit earlier or where recovery will start first.

Program of activities
1. ENGAGEMENT (April 2020 - July 2021): collection of information on a dedicated platform, through surveys and sharing of text, pictures, short videos, local news from different, intergenerational social groups from all geographical areas, regarding the current situation of public space and indoor daily routines from a personal perspective, and its evolution throughout the year.
>>> Survey

2. DISCUSSION (May - August 2020): a series of webinars on Zoom with global experts to discuss about the current situation and its consequences, by presenting innovative approaches and creative practices, touching different topics related to public health, social interaction and the future of public space.
Webinars are hosted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
CALL FOR SPEAKERS >>> apply here.

Series 1
Webinar #1: Thursday May 7, 4.00 - 5.30pm CET
Reframing the Role of Public Space during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic
>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar + reading materials
>>> Webinar feedback
 
Webinar #2: Thursday May 14, 1.00 - 2.30pm CET
Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
>>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
 
Webinar #3: Thursday May 21, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Health Disparity and Public Space in High Density Environments

Webinar #4: Thursday May 28 (time to be announced)
Expert Group Discussion with the Audience

Series 2
Webinar #1: Thursday June 4 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #2: Thursday June 11 (time to be announced)
Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Webinar #3: Thursday June 18 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #4: Thursday June 25 (time to be announced)
Expert Group Discussion with the Audience

Series 3
Webinar #1: Thursday July 2 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #2: Thursday July 9 (time to be announced)
Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Webinar #3: Thursday July 16 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #4: Thursday July 23 (time to be announced)
Expert Group Discussion with the Audience
 
Series 4
Webinar #1: Thursday August 6 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #2: Thursday August 13 (time to be announced)
Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Webinar #3: Thursday August 20 (theme and time to be announced)
Webinar #4: Thursday August 27 (time to be announced)
Expert Group Discussion with the Audience

3. PUBLICATION (June 2020): a special issue of 'The Journal of Public Space'. The issue will include articles with perspectives and commentaries from global experts and a portfolio with outcomes of step 1- Engagement and first and more relevant outcomes of step 2 – Discussion. The issue is expected to be published online at the beginning of June.
CALL FOR PAPERS >>> we would like to collect short papers, as commentaries or reflections on the current situation and/or the post covid-19 world. Submission are expected no later than May 15 at submission@journalpublicspace.org with:
- title, name of author(s), affiliation and email address, abstract (150 words) and up to 5 keywords
- short paper of max 2.000 words, including images and captions and bibliographical references
This special issue will not be a regular double-blind peer reviewed issue, since we do not have enough time for several rounds of review. But we will work in order to keep the high standards and quality of research papers, engaging leading academic scholars in the editorial review.

4. FOLLOW-UP LEARNING (May - November 2020): an online course to rethink public space during and after pandemics and a special event to take place in Bologna, Italy, in November 2020 (dates to be announced).
 
5. LONG TERM LEARNING (December 2020 - July 2021): an educational program entirely dedicated to public space, the Public Space Academy - www.publicspaceacademy.org, that will include also contents related to risk management and resilience during public health emergencies. A final workshop, at the end of the programme, is expected to take place in Bologna, Italy, in July 2021 (dates to be announced).

***

Do you want to join our initiative as a Public Space Advisor?
City Space Architecture is interestd to engage academic scholars, professionals, designers, activists, artists, policy makers, city managers and community leaders with a specific background in public space, from multiple topics and perspectives. Read the CALL FOR ADVISORS ON PUBLIC SPACE >>> submit your application here by no later than July 15, 2020. 
 
Do you want to join our initiative as a University/research institution?
Please send us an email at PublicSpace-COVID19@cityspacearchitecture.org.

Do you want to follow our initiative?
Please subscribe at this link: http://eepurl.com/gcxcg5
 
 
          
 
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658