A new #PublicSpaceCode for London

Scenario_2._Patrick_Bateman_Canal_smallA collective manifesto for public space was begun earlier this year on Twitter. We have collected together twelve of the most liked, retweeted and inspiring contributions so far.

The newly founded Department of Public Space initiated a manifesto to define future public spaces in London. Conceived by Ed Wall, Academic Leader Landscape at the University of Greenwich, and developed by graduate students on the Landscape Architecture and Urbanism programmes, the project aims to encourage a rethinking of what public spaces could be and who is able to define them.

The public space code is inspired by visionary urban designer Michael Sorkin’s book Local Code (1993), a set of written instructions for a future city. It is being authored by designers, urbanists and planners, or anyone with a Twitter account. Both utopian and pragmatic concerns have been proposed and discussed so far, with Catalina Turcu (@CatalinaTurcu), programme director at UCL The Bartlett retweeting “Public space is where people do their own private things” while Lesley (@SeeHearLive), a graduate student from Greenwich proposing that “All public spaces should be BBQ-friendly.

Below are a selection of twelve of the most liked, retweeted and inspiring public space codes written so far:

  1. Futurecity ‏@futurecityblog  Nov 16.@DeptPublicSpace are developing a collective manifesto for public space – share your ideas with #PublicSpaceCode http://ow.ly/UHoTw 
  2. Daisy Haywood ‏@daisy_haywood  Oct 28#LondonPublicSpaces should be a platform for innovative design, rather than restrictive dullness
  3. RooneyTa ‏@cuongmay90  Oct 28#LondonPublicSpaces. Public Space is where people do their own private things.
  4. Ian Thompson ‏@ianthompson86  Nov 30#publicspaces should encourage community & #citizenparticipation http://plazaparticipation.net/public-space-and-participation/ … @DeptPublicSpace @PPS_Placemaking #publicspacecode
  5. Jens Haendeler ‏@haendelerdesign  Nov 20#londonpublicspaces may connect. Entangle. Illuminate. Much like Christmas lights. #publicspacecode
  6. Chikan ‏@AlekstheChikan  Oct 28Public Spaces should be built to not be maintained. #publicspacecode #londonpublicspaces @DeptPublicSpace
  7. Lesley ‏@SeeHearLive  Oct 28Public space should never be maintained #LondonPublicSpaces
  8. DianaCaletena ‏@DianaCaletena  Oct 28Public Spaces should be pedestrianized, walkable and free of cars #LondonPublicSpace #PublicSpaceCode
  9. Anoushka Athique ‏@aathique  Nov 18Collective imaginary spaces such as outer space should be part of #londonpublicspaces
  10. sb207 ‏@sb207ben  Oct 28#LondonPublicSpaces should facilitate conversations.
  11. Jen Lee ‏@jenlee1005  Oct 28Public space is the city itself. #LondonPublicSpaces
  12. Dept of Public Space ‏@DeptPublicSpace  Dec 4A #PublicSpaceCode which opens up possibilities of #PublicSpaces could be better than regulations which restrict

The premise of the manifesto is that London’s public spaces across the city’s 32 boroughs are loosely coordinated in access, use, ownership, design, production and operation. Despite central government policy initiatives (Towards and Urban Renaissance) and metropolitan scale agendas (Manifesto for Public Space) the potential of these spaces for actions, events and discourses is left unfulfilled. Other infrastructures of water, energy and transportation are coordinated and supported by government agencies or are overseen by regulators. But in the context of contrasting forms of public space, from civic squares to privately owned parks, the Department of Public Space (@DeptPublicSpace) project questions whether the Greater London Authority, the local councils, commercial developers or other agencies are the appropriate custodians of London’s public spaces?

To contribute to the manifesto, follow @DeptPublicSpace, read, write, tweet, retweet or reply using #PublicSpaceCode or #LondonPublicSpaces.

[Image above: Aaron Carpenter, MA Landscape Architecture, University of Greenwich]

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