Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Programme

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
 
 
Image by Edwin Hopper on Unsplash.
 
 
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 - October 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 - September 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.
 
All our webinars are recorded and are available on the City Space Architecture's Youtube playlist '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic'

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
>>> Webinar feedback
>>> Summary
 
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
>>> Summary
 
Webinar #3: Thursday May 21, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Health Disparity and Public Space in High Density Environments
>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar

Webinar #4: Thursday May 28, 2.00 - 3.00pm CET
Expert Group Discussion with the Audience
>>> Speakers and agenda  >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
>>> Summary
 
Series 2
Webinar #1: Thursday June 4, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
COVID-19 Challenges and Responses in Informal Settlements
>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
>>> Summary
 
Webinar #2: Thursday June 11, 10.00 - 11.30am CET
Speculative Cities: thinking forward.
Exploring speculative practices and how they relate to and/or change public space in the current and post COVID-19 conditions
Special series: Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
>>> Summary
 
Webinar #3: Thursday June 18, 1.00 - 2.30pm CET
Creating accessible and inclusive public spaces with/for resilient communities
>>> Speakers and agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
>>> Summary
 
Webinar #4: Thursday June 25, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Global Design Studio in the Age of Pandemics
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback

Series 3
Webinar #1: Thursday July 2, 11.00am - 12.30pm CET
Towards Healthy Cities in the Age of Pandemics 
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
>>> Webinar feedback
 
Webinar #2: Thursday July 9, 3.00 - 4.30pm CET
Innovative Approaches and Creative Practices in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
 
Webinar #3: Thursday July 16, 2.30 - 4.00pm CET
Rethinking public spaces. Exploring the interplay of the analogue and virtual realm and its effects on public and social life in cities
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
 
Webinar #4: Thursday July 23, 4.30 - 6.00pm CET
Future Safe and Sustainable Urbanization. Expert Group Discussion with the Audience
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
 
Series 4
Webinar #1: Thursday August 6, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
The Impact of the Pandemic to Street Life, Urban Culture and Beyond
>>> Speakers and Agenda >>> including recorded video of the webinar
 
Webinar #2: Thursday August 13, 2.00 - 3.30pm 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 August 20, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Cities Learning from Pandemics  >>> including recorded video of the webinar
 
Webinar #4: Thursday August 27, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
The Role of Renewable Energy in post COVID-19 Public Spaces
 
Series 5 (the last one!)
Webinar #1: Thursday September 3, 12.00 - 1.30pm CET
Tactical urbanism as a crisis response and as mobiliser for systemic change 
 
Webinar #2: Thursday September 10, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Right to the city for children: from value driven discourse to transformative actions
 
Webinar #3: Thursday September 17, 3.00 - 4.30pm CET
Parks, Piazzas & Pandemics: Promoting Safe Access to Public Places with Data Analytics
>>> Speakers and Agenda
>>> Webinar feedback
 
Webinar #4 (the last one!): Thursday September 24, 2.00 - 3.30pm CET
Our Future Cities: public space initiatives, innovative policies and creative actions to recover during and after the pandemic 
 
FINAL ONLINE SYMPOSIUM >>> November 6-7 >>> save the date!   https://www.publicspace-covid19.com/

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.
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. Designing Inclusive and Resilient Communities for the Post-Covid19 Era in Hong Kong and New YorkInternational Urban Design Workshop, 8-13 June 2020. Promoted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Parsons The New School (New York), the University of Auckland (New Zealand), City Space Architecture and The Journal of Public Space.
Special event to take place in Bologna, Italy. Urban Visions. Beyond the Ideal City, International Film Festival, 12-15 November 2020 -> postponed to April 2021. Promoted by City Space Architecture.
 
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).

***
 
The '2020: A Year without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic' initiative is developed 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


and 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.

***

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 December 31, 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
 
***
 
About the curators
 

Luisa Bravo

Luisa Bravo is a global academic scholar and educator, passionate public space activist, and social entrepreneur. She has more than 15-years experience in the professional field as urban planner and designer with a specific focus on public space. After completing her PhD in Italy (2008), she has taught, researched and lectured in Europe, the United States, Middle East, Asia and Australia. She is currently Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at the University of Florence in Italy. With her non-profit organization City Space Architecture, that she founded in 2013, Luisa organized and curated several international conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions, aimed at promoting public space culture. Under her leadership, City Space Architecture became partner of UN-Habitat's Global Public Space Programme and started a cooperation for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, also through participation in major UN events, such as the 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur (2018) with the exhibition 'We the People, We the Public Space' and the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi (2020) with the exhibition 'Public Space is Vital for an Equitable Urban Future', both promoted in collaboration with The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Luisa is currently curating City Space Architecture's activities as partner organization of 'A-Place. Linking places through networked artistic practices', a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. Luisa is the Founder, Editor in Chief and Journal Manager of 'The Journal of Public Space', the first-ever, academic, interdisciplinary, open access journal entirely dedicated to public space, that she established through City Space Architecture in partnership with UN-Habitat. The first issue of the journal was launched at Habitat III, the United Nations conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, in Quito (2016). Luisa’s lecture ‘Stand up for Public Space!’ has been included in the UN-Habitat Global Urban Lectures series (2017). 

 

Hendrik Tieben

Hendrik Tieben is an urban designer, researcher and educator devoted to the creation of more inclusive, liveable and healthy cities. He is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Over the last years, he developed a series of public space and placemaking projects which have found international recognition. He collaborated with The Journal of Public Space since its launch in 2016 at the Habitat III Conference in Quito and contributed to the journal, as author and guest editor of the 2019 issue “Public Space in the Entrepreneurial City” in 2019 (with Maurice Harteveld). At CUHK, Hendrik co-organized three Urban Thinkers Campus events to help implementing UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda and push for a more inclusive approach to planning. In his current World Universities Network project Hendrik focuses on the relationships between urban forms, health and wellbeing. In this context, he investigates people’s experience with the limited access to public space in the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. He mainly focuses on Hong Kong and Taiwan, two places which experienced the SARS epidemic in 2003, and, in different ways, developed early strategies to cope with the current health emergency.

 
 
 
          
 
Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658