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Reimagine public spaces
Access to public space is by no means equally available to everyone. Numerous barriers prevent certain groups from making use of public or semi‑public space, whether it be physical (parks, stations, shopping centres, etc.) or less tangible (the Internet, forums for discussing what policy measures are required, etc.).
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In urban areas, numerous local ordinances or by‑laws prevent any use of public space for non‑commercial purposes, by prohibiting, for example, sleeping rough, “loitering” or behaving in what is deemed to be a disorderly manner in shops and businesses. In some cases these restrictions are compounded by other internal regulations that apply in semi‑public spaces such as stations or metro stations, where physical appearance alone can be a reason to keep certain persons out. Sometimes, too, there are private security guards present, or the areas themselves are fitted out in such a way as to deter people from lingering.
In a social justice approach, new emphasis needs to be given to the notion of an individual and collective “right to the city”, so that the aspirations of all users are taken into account when designing and managing public space.

Image Pictures by Collectif de réappropriation de l’espace public, Dubwise Version, Joe Shlabotnik, Sharon Mollerus and Fito Senabre

Below are listed examples of actions (in orange) and policies (in green) that aim at providing an equal access to public space.

Reclaiming common spaces and reusing abandoned resources

While comercialisation and privatisation are excluding people from public spaces, buildings and pieces of land are being abandoned. In front of this paradox, groups of the civil society are working individually or hand by hand with local administrations in order to reuse abandoned resources, such as land and buildings, and to reclaim the public space as a common good.

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  • ACTION

Social centres

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-27 10:45 -

Self-managed spaces whereby people can come together to create, communicate and offer a more collective and alternative way of living.

Occupy Movements

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-21 08:35 -

Citizens' protest movements against social and economic inequalities; demanding as well a "re-democratisation" of democracy.

Occupying abandoned buildings

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 12:18 -

The reusing of abandoned housing may be provided by through law or policy. In other cases, the occupation of buildings is done without the consent of the legal owner of the premises, despite it lying vacant and unused, and is therefore considered illegal.

Mapping abandoned buildings

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 09:55 -

As hundreds of buildings contine to lie abandoned and unused all across Europe, creative initiatives have appeared in several European countries that aim at mapping abandoned buildings in the hope that they will be later used in some shape or form.

Community gardens

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-14 13:27 -

Community gardens are those that are shared, cultivated and managed by a community of residents.

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Other examples of Action:

  • POLICY
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Promoting equal treatment in public spaces

Public spaces are an area of conflict between diffirent groups, in which the interests of the most marginalised population groups, particularly homeless people, are seldom taken into account. As mentioned, people experiencing poverty are often excluded from public spaces will it be through local ordinance or bills that forbid to sleep or gather in the street, internal rules of semi-public spaces such as railway stations, and so on.

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Promoting a democratic managment of public spaces

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Examples:

All Examples of Actions and Policies

Campaign work

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-17 13:46 -

Groups from civil society are campaigning and raising awareness on different issues so that people experiencing poverty are not discriminated and excluded from public spaces.

Mapping abandoned buildings

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 09:55 -

As hundreds of buildings contine to lie abandoned and unused all across Europe, creative initiatives have appeared in several European countries that aim at mapping abandoned buildings in the hope that they will be later used in some shape or form.

The London Orchard Project

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-10 08:54 -

Urban fruit for urban communities – developing a skilled community of Londoners to plant, care for and harvest fruit trees, thereby connecting urban communities and increasing access to fresh fruit.

Givrum.nu ("give room now")

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-26 07:36 -

Givrum.nu is an organisation that works with user-driven urban development. Using extensive knowledge about citizen-participatory processes in the city, Givrum.nu has among other things created life in empty buildings for a temporary period and created awareness-raising events where innovative ways (cultural, social, etc.) of developing cities are put on the agenda.

Taxi Stop

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-19 12:32 -
Taxistop Logo

Organisation enabling sharing since 1975: ride-sharing: Carpoolplaza, Eurostop, Eventpool. Car-Sharing: Cambio-car-sharing, Autopia P2P. Homelink, home-sitting. Social transport service for less mobile people, done by volunteers...

Tlandhuis

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-19 09:00 -

SHARING OCCUPIED SPACES: A BIOLOGICAL GARDEN

The Garden of Eden Project

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-12 12:31 -

The Garden of Eden Project is one way to help your community take local action towards local and global environmental improvement. One tangible way to address climate change is to plant trees. Not only this, it is an opportunity to bring a community together to design and create a common project that is eco-friendly, sustainable and will give back to the community in years to come.

Community Land Trust Brussels

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-04-11 15:26 -
CLT Brussels

The Brussels Community Land Trust is an integrated housing model allowing poor households in Brussels that are not longer able to access to decent housing or social housing to enter a long-term housing project and become owner of their own living. This not-for-profit model has been coined as one of the best housing models in the world by UNESCO in 2008.

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Challenges

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