One of the biggest challenges for urbanizing cities all over the world is to ensure that urban environments match basic human needs in order to provide good quality of life. However, cities often perform poorly when it comes to creating environments that are safe, inclusive and healthy and provide sufficient room for social interaction and daily (physical) activity. Bringing together locals and an amplitude of professionals ranging from scholars, urban planners, artists, technicians and officials to representatives from non-profit organizations and the sports industry, The Future of Public Spaces sets out to open up new possibilities for (re)creating public spaces, digital tools, urban furniture and temporary installations. The results will contribute to the further development of a persuasive narrative on public spaces’ potential to work on urban challenges in the field of health and inclusiveness.
In a city where social interaction is encouraged in a healthy way, the level of inclusiveness is consequently higher. Public spaces have the power of democratically inviting all city users when designed and implemented correctly, and providing a better quality of life for different social groups. Public space should be flexible and able to adapt to the need of users and their different interests and activities. Furthermore, public spaces that are designed from the perspective creating a liveable environment also naturally create safer urban environments. Several studies suggest that informal social control, defined as the willingness of neighbourhood residents to intervene in local problems, is an important mediator between neighbourhood structural conditions and crime.
A city designed for the human scale has the power of becoming a safer, inclusive and healthier environment for its users. But how to integrate these aspects with the new urban trends such as increased virtual connectivity? How to guarantee that a space will suit the human scale, and at the same time provide good and efficient mobility infrastructure? How to manage and integrate interest of different stakeholders? How to make sure that environmental aspects such as low air quality and noise pollution are not harming inhabitants? And above all: how to manage all these aspects in an continuously innovative way? These are the questions to be answered by La Fabrique de la Cité and AMS Institute, in a new challenging and inspiring cooperation that focusses on contributing to better and liveable future of public space.