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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

De Hoeve Allotment gardens

Auteur : Marieke De Boe - Publié le : 2013-10-02 14:46 -
Réinsertion sociale

Belgium: The members of the allotment gardens and their efforts to help people get back on the job market.

Jogos de Rua (“Street Games”)

Auteur : Claudia Coimbra - Publié le : 2013-08-27 13:38 -

The Street Games project ("Jogos de Rua"), developed in Lisbon's Prodac neighbourhood, highlights the importance of urban space, large or small, as a source of unity among diverse cultures, social classes and generations.

Projecto Fruta Feia

Auteur : Claudia Coimbra - Publié le : 2013-08-26 14:11 -

Projecto Fruta Feia ("Ugly Fruit") aims to minimise the social and environmental impact of food waste. The idea is to channel all rejected fruit and vegetable products to consumers that do not judge the quality of the product solely on appearances.

Manifatture Knos

Auteur : Alessandra Sciurba - Publié le : 2013-08-01 09:50 -

Transformation of an abandoned space of approx. 400 square metres (including a park) into a multi-functional centre of research, training and cultural production. Also a member of the network "Trans Europe Halles" for independent European spaces.

Ex Fadda

Auteur : Alessandra Sciurba - Publié le : 2013-08-01 08:26 -

Transformation of an abandoned space into one that is multi-purpose, encompassing the production of an alternative economy, art and culture that is accessible, and providing opportunities for social collectives.

ViviBalon Flea Market

Auteur : Alessandra Sciurba - Publié le : 2013-07-31 14:50 -

Based on principles of solidarity and sharing: organisation and management of an old, important flea market that is run by a cultural association composed of Italian, migrant and Roma workers (about 300).

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Other examples of Action:

  • POLICY

Creative Limerick - Connect to the Grid

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-22 10:03 -

Creative Limerick - Connect to the Grid, is coordinated by the Economic Development Department (at Limerick City Council) in partnership with the third level colleges, creative industries, commercial property owners and their agents operating in Limerick City. This project seeks to enhance vibrancy and active frontages in Limerick City Centre and to provide active uses for vacant properties while promoting the work of the Creative Industries in our region.

Cultivation and production on all terrain

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens/ Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-15 08:06 -
Consumption

Particularly in the context of the present economic climate, initiatives are emerging in communities across Europe that involve the planting of any suitable piece of land and sharing the produce grown. The benefits of these kinds of movements are multi-fold.

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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Padre Cruz Com Padrinhos

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-08-05 09:40 -

Facilitating an ongoing process of upgrading the oldest part of Padre Cruz, the largest municipal borough of Peni-Lisbon, which is helping at the same time to create greater social and territorial cohesion, while also taking into account the area's newer and multicultural populations.

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.

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Promoting a democratic managment of public spaces

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Projecto Fruta Feia

Auteur : Claudia Coimbra - Publié le : 2013-08-26 14:11 -

Projecto Fruta Feia ("Ugly Fruit") aims to minimise the social and environmental impact of food waste. The idea is to channel all rejected fruit and vegetable products to consumers that do not judge the quality of the product solely on appearances.

Association of home-based workers, Bulgaria

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 13:34 -

Strengthening the movement of home-based workers, the Association (AHBW) in Bulgaria is the first organisation of informal workers in Eastern Europe. It is a non-governmental organisation based on membership and democratic governance, i.e. it takes a bottom-up approach. It is an initiative to make visible home-based workers as well as protect their social and economic rights. It operates at the national and regional level.

Padre Cruz Com Padrinhos

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-08-05 09:40 -

Facilitating an ongoing process of upgrading the oldest part of Padre Cruz, the largest municipal borough of Peni-Lisbon, which is helping at the same time to create greater social and territorial cohesion, while also taking into account the area's newer and multicultural populations.

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Examples:

All Examples of Actions and Policies

Padre Cruz Com Padrinhos

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-08-05 09:40 -

Facilitating an ongoing process of upgrading the oldest part of Padre Cruz, the largest municipal borough of Peni-Lisbon, which is helping at the same time to create greater social and territorial cohesion, while also taking into account the area's newer and multicultural populations.

Greek Forum of Migrants

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-01 15:56 -

A self-organised network of migrants’ communities and associations, formed through continuous consultations with the objective of representing and strengthening the voice of migrants, organisations and communities in Greece as well as struggling for equal inclusion and participation in Greek society.

Local Patrimony art rehabilitation actions

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-01 11:37 -
couvin

« One train can hide another »: In Couvin (Belgium) an old wagon in the train station was repainted with artistic tags during a whole weekend by the inhabitants.

Released Ex-colorificio /Project Rebeldia

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-07-22 11:03 -

The Project Rebeldia, a social center which was for two years without a space to carry out its activities, together with the Municipality of the Commons (consisting of groups and citizens' associations that have always worked with the Project Rebeldia) occupied a former paint factory (Ex Colorificio), located in an industrial area of a multinational of about 14,000 metres, and which had been abandoned for 5 years. The main purpose of the occupation was to return it to the associations and citizen groups as a shared and common good; a place for the provision of many different activities and services to the city.

Favara Urban Network - F.U.N.

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-07-16 13:44 -

The non-profit Association Favara Urban Network is the laboratory for development of the City of Favara (AG). F.U.N. has the task of supporting, from a scientific and cultural point of view, the transformation processes of Favara and the metropolitan area.

Beautiful St. Petersburg / Красивый Петербург

Auteur : Andrei - Publié le : 2013-06-17 16:13 -

Beautiful Petersburg (BP) is a movement of active citizens for the improvement of the urban environment quality. We instruct citizens using effective methods of making their cities better, providing them with a simple web tool and organizing regular educational and research events.

SCUP (sport e cultura popolare)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-05-21 11:10 -

A centre of sporting and cultural services and a solidarity economy, created in an abandoned public space to be later occupied by the people involved in the project.

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.

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Creative Limerick - Connect to the Grid

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-22 10:03 -

Creative Limerick - Connect to the Grid, is coordinated by the Economic Development Department (at Limerick City Council) in partnership with the third level colleges, creative industries, commercial property owners and their agents operating in Limerick City. This project seeks to enhance vibrancy and active frontages in Limerick City Centre and to provide active uses for vacant properties while promoting the work of the Creative Industries in our region.

Challenges

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