By Hettie Pisters Ph.D, STUDIO hp AS
1) Insofar as “the public”, as an undifferentiated and monolithic social entity, has ever truly existed, its heydey is definitively past. In its place we find a fluid urban multitude characterized by migration, precarity, and dynamism. Therefore, making a space “public” is no longer a sufficient If planners and architects wish to engage in the creation of open, free urban space, they need to engage with the particular composition of the user group in question.
2) The term “public” also carries the connotation of being managed by the state or local government. A space is only open insofar as it provides users of the space with the necesarry affordances for transformation and adaption. This necessarily entails explorations in alternate forms of souvereignty and participation, rather than skeumorphic arrangements of benches and trees.
3) Abstract universalism is at odds with the everyday desires and interactions of actual people. Aspace needn’t appeal to “everyone” in order to be open.
4) To whatever extent planning can impact the use of space, it should be focused on intersections, frictions, contradictions, and embraces rather than discrete social bodies. If the aim of a space is to allow contact and intercourse between social groups, the focus should be on the nature of the practices enabled by the space, rather than appealing to this or that group in the abstract.