How to be Truly Open: Rethinking Public Spaces in the Post-Covid City

This article discusses how Covid-19 and the need for social distancing have made citizens aware of the lack of public spaces in cities, and how this context offers a paramount opportunity to rethink the rules that govern public spaces from the bottom-up.

Date added 8 February 2021
Last updated 8 February 2021

This article offers a quick overview of how the management of public space has changed over time: from public space norms and concrete rules, to participation and co-creation, climate friendly places, the commodification of public space, and public-private struggles.

It highlights that public space in crowded cities is very valuable, and how we have seen a tendency to turn this into something profitable, such as housing, businesses, etc. instead of leaving these spaces available for leisure activities that don’t involve spending money. Covid-19 and social distancing, have shaken the way people understand and relate to public spaces: these have become more valued than ever before, and citizens have realised that there isn’t enough space to meet, walk, relax, etc. while being able to adhere to social distancing rules.

This article explains how Covid-19 offers the opportunity to rethink public space norms, in partnership with actors in the public and private sectors, as well as with communities from the bottom-up, through public participation.