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Articles on Public space

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After an extensive renovation, an old house in a laneway in Toronto became a new two-bedroom home. (LGA Architectural Partners, Ben Rahn/A Frame)

How cities can unlock the potential of laneway housing

Laneway suites could increase rental stock in established neighbourhoods without affecting their character. Toronto has lagged behind other cities in Canada and North America.
Artist Joi T. Arcand explains ‘Never Surrender,’ ‘translates a …1980s Canadian pop song into the Cree language and recontextualiz[es] the lyrics as an anthem of Indigenous sovereignty.’ Here, the image layered over a photo of a Winnipeg sidewalk. (Noor)

Nuit Blanche Toronto goes virtual to change how people see art and public space

Both the COVID-19 pandemic and urgent debates around public heritage and monuments shape how Nuit Blanche Toronto is seeking to engage artists and viewers in remapping cities.
Finding a washroom during either a pandemic or a protest within a pandemic is an issue about how free and accessible our urban spaces are. (Shutterstock)

Finding a place to pee during a pandemic or a protest shouldn’t be so hard

Public washrooms are an essential service and the people who maintain them are essential workers. But what happens when a pandemic closes public bathrooms and a civil rights protest breaks out?
At a deserted Federation Square in Melbourne, the big screen broadcasts this message: ‘If you can see this, what are you doing? Go home.’ Cassie Zervos/Twitter

We don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone – we must reclaim public space lost to the coronavirus crisis

Current restrictions remind us of the value of access to public space and one another. Yet even before COVID-19 some people were excluded and targeted, so a return to the status quo isn't good enough.
Our mental health benefits when nature is part of our neighbourhoods, as in this residential street in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Melanie Thomson

Biodiversity and our brains: how ecology and mental health go together in our cities

It's well-established that green spaces are good for our well-being. Now we can demonstrate that greater biodiversity boosts this benefit, as well as helping to sustain native plants and animals.
Some publicly accessible spaces are actually privately owned public spaces such as Brisbane’s popular South Bank city beach and streets scene. Flickr/Thirumurugan P

Explainer: What is public space and why does it need protecting?

As you walk about a city are you in public or private space? The line is often blurred.
One nine-year-old chose his local supermarket as a place he valued because he could “spend time with mum and help decide what goes in our trolley”. Shutterstock

Public places through kids’ eyes – what do they value?

When primary school children in a disadvantaged part of Sydney were asked to map what they valued in the area, their choices were revealing and sometimes surprising.
Sea Line Park, one of the shortlisted entries in the competition to design a new park for the Melbourne of 2050. Future Park Design Ideas Competition

Why we need ‘crazy’ ideas for new city parks

Some might scoff at the free-ranging ideas sparked by a competition to design future parks for Melbourne. But the legacy of a radical idea to green a CBD street in 1985 shows why we need such thinking.
The benefits of ‘superblocks’ for Barcelona include better health, access to green space and other public space, and more transport-related physical activity. Orbon Alija/iStock

Superblocks are transforming Barcelona. They might work in Australian cities too

The Spanish city is remaking urban neighbourhoods by limiting through traffic in superblocks that give priority to pedestrians and street activities, not cars.

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