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Articles on public spaces

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People wandering on a pedestrian portion of Ste-Catherine Street in Montréal. The pandemic has contributed to a recognition of the importance of public space. The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz

Post-pandemic cities can permanently reclaim public spaces as gathering places

Containment during the pandemic has contributed to a recognition of the importance of public space as a gathering place and an essential tool to meet the needs of the population.
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.
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.
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.
Cairns Lagoon: as a good response to the tropical climate, it’s a very active place but with little business activity. Silvia Tavares

City temperatures and city economics, a hidden relationship between sun and wind and profits

Good urban design and walkability boost local economic activity by increasing public activity, but cities need to pay more attention to the effects of microclimates on streets and public spaces.
In an urban setting like central Footscray, where only 1% of the area is public space, the value of the humble footpath needs to be recognised. Yvonne Meng

Don’t forget the footpath – it’s vital public space

Footpaths are a valuable space for everyday social activity, but their role is often overlooked. In increasingly dense urban areas such as Footscray, footpaths are essential public spaces.

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