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Articles on Public space

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A smart light pole in the UK can also recognise faces and numberplates and detect speeding. Nazlika/Wikimedia Commons

Smart street furniture in Australia: a public service or surveillance and advertising tool?

Smart street furniture can do a lot of things at once. Some of these functions offer the public clear benefits, but the data collection and surveillance capabilities raise a number of concerns.
It’s back: Rush-hour traffic in Los Angeles on June 15, 2021. Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As urban life resumes, can US cities avert gridlock?

The pandemic offered a tantalizing look at city life with fewer cars in the picture. But with traffic rebounding, there's limited time to lock in policies that make streets more people-friendly.
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.

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