Απόσπασμα από τη wikipedia, που τα αναλύει πολύ απλά, για να ξεκαθαρίσετε θεωρητικά τι σημαίνει δημόσιος χώρος και ποιος θα μπορούσε να είναι ο ρόλος του σχεδιασμού μέσα σε αυτόν.
Public space in design theory
Public space, as a term and as a concept in design, is volatile. There is much conversation around what constitutes public space, what role it plays, and how design should approach and deal with it.
Historically, public space in the west has been limited to town centres, piazzas, church squares, i.e. nearly always engineered around a central monument, which informs the program of the space. These spaces acted as the ‘commons‘ of the people; a political, social and cultural arena, indeed Jürgen Habermas‘ concept of the public sphere links its emergence with the development of democracy. A good example of this is the New Deal projects. The New Deal was a brief period in the US under Roosevelt’s government that produced a huge number of public works in an economic effort to boost employment during the depression. The result, however, was more than this. They constituted a legacy of what has been called the cultural infrastructure underlying American public space. The New Deal projects have been credited with significantly contributing to the quality of American life and encouraging unity between all aspects of the community. It has been recently argued, however, that the democratic ideal of public life through the use of public space has deteriorated. As our cities accelerate towards segregation (social, economic, cultural, ethnic), the opportunity for public interaction is on the decline. John Chase writes, “The importance of voluntary and obligatory participation in civic life has been usurped by the consciousness of the arbitrary nature of assigned cultural meanings and by the increasingly important role that consumption of goods and services plays in the formation of individual identity.”
Modern architectural critics have lamented on the ‘narrative of loss’ within the public sphere. That is, modern society has withdrawn from public life that used to inform city centres. Political and social needs, and forums for expression, can now be accessed from the home. This sentiment is reflected in Michael Sorkin’s and Mike Davis’ declaration of “the end of public space” and the “destruction of any truly democratic urban spaces.” Another side of the debate, however, argues that it is people who apply meaning to public space, wherever it may be. It has been suggested that the concepts of public, space, democracy, and citizenship are being redefined by people through lived experience. Discussion has surfaced around the idea that, historically, public space has been inherently contradictory in the way that it has always been exclusive in who has been able to participate. This has caused the “counterpublics”, as identified by Nancy Fraser, to establish their own public spaces to respond to their own concerns. These spaces are in constant flux, and in response, its users restructure and reinterpret physical space. An example of this is in the African-American neighbourhood, Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles. Here, a parking lot has evolved into a scene of intense commercial and social activity. Locals gather here to meet and socialise, sell and consume goods. The example has been used to illustrate that the historical ideal of fixed public space around a monument is not viable for a contemporary diverse social range as “no single physical space can represent a completely inclusive ‘space of democracy’.”
Art in public space
This sense of flux and change, informs how contemporary public art has evolved. Temporal art in public spaces has been a long established practice. But the presence of public art has become increasingly prevalent and important within our contemporary cities. Temporal public art is so important because of its ability to respond to, reflect, and explore the context which it inhabits. Patricia Phillips describes the “social desire for an art that is contemporary and timely, that responds to and reflects its temporal and circumstantial context.” Public art is an arena for investigation, exploration and articulation of the dense and diverse public landscape. Public art asks its audience to re-imagine, re-experience, re-view and re-live. In the design field, a heavy focus has been turned onto the city as needing to discover new and inspired ways to re-use, re-establish and re-invent the city, in step with an invigorated interest in re-juvinating our cities for a sustainable future. Contemporary design has become obsessed with the need to save the modern city from an industrialised, commercialised, urban pit of a death bed.
Approaching urban design
Contemporary perception of public space has now branched and grown into a multitude of non-traditional sites with a variety of programs in mind. It is for this reason that the way in which design deals with public space as a discipline, has become such a diverse and indefinable field.
Iris Aravot puts forward an interesting approach to the urban design process, with the idea of the ‘narrative-myth’. Aravot argues that “conventional analysis and problem solving methods result in fragmentation…of the authentic experience of a city…[and] something of the liveliness of the city as a singular entity is lost.” The process of developing a narrative-myth in urban design involves analysing and understanding the unique aspects of the local culture based on Cassirer’s five distinctive “symbolic forms”. They are myth and religion, art, language, history and science; aspects often disregarded by professional practice. Aravot suggests that the narrative-myth “imposes meaning specifically on what is still inexplicable”, i.e. the essence of a city.