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  • 9th March 2022

Public Space Academy to run three-year programme

Ove Arup Foundation is supporting a programme run by the Public Space Academy (PSA) of Milan to establish a new approach to urban complexity built around public space. The programme is designed to spread awareness of the importance of public space culture.

The Academy holds public space as a key element for sustainable urban development. Well-designed and well-managed public spaces can provide opportunities for formal and informal economies. It can attract investment, entrepreneurs and services, thereby enhancing the value of land and property. Alongside this it can encourage walking, cycling and play, improving physical and mental health.

Public space often presented as merely a collateral component in the urban agenda, and, while academic research on public space is well established, there remains an underdefined comprehensive urban strategy – one that is built around humans and human life in the public domain – for local implementation.

Public space is increasingly involved in a technical and political process dealing with land use, environment, infrastructure networks, social issues and policy making, in response to global trends such as massive urbanisation and privatisations. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted urban models such as the car-free city or the 15-minute city, aimed at prioritising around the human scale, establishing the 1.5-metre society as a new form of safe physical co-existence.

The PSA will be developed as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), with all contents available for free. This will be complemented with several face-to-face activities, such as talks, public dialogues, meetings, workshops and exhibitions, in different cities worldwide, engaging Universities, cultural institutions and NGOs affiliated to City Space Architecture’s global network.

A final 10-day workshop will take place in Bologna at City Space Architecture headquarters, to apply theoretical concepts delivered through the learning programme to some specific case studies on a diverse range of issues related to public space, through a ‘learning by doing’ approach, in collaboration with local organisations, public and private institutions and NGOs.

The duration of the project is three years, divided in several cycles and modules, with an increasing level of complexity.

image credit: Karolis Vaiciulis, via Unsplash

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