Conquer the public space in your city
The European Mobility Week (16-22 September 2020) encourages people and authorities to take local steps for achieving the long term goal: “zero-emission mobility for all”. Designing better urban space can grow along a socially driven bottom-up approach. Such a best practice is creating living labs to increase the acceptance for parking management.
The city of Groningen (The Netherlands) defines the value of public space as follows: “If a parking space is occupied by a parked car, the driver privatises in fact the public space”. Considering this idea, many European cities took initiative in planning public space for people. “Verover de ruimte” is a Belgian platform of ngo’s, civil society organisations, local action groups and academic actors that empower citizens’ wishes for claiming public space in cities. Through participatory budgeting sustainable and community-friendly developments are financed In New South Wales, places for exercising and socializing are provided to add vitality to neighbourhoods. People can do business, dine outdoor, walk and enjoy pop-up stores. In the Lithuanian capital Vilnius bars and restaurants can expand their seating accommodation and in Brussels the complete area within de small ring road became residential area with absolute priority for slow modes and a speed limit for motorised vehicles of 20 km/h.
By exploring the boundaries between private, public and personal property of the urban space, public awareness about the cultural, spatial and socio-economic relevance of urban design rises. There are worldwide examples of cities and districts that chose for public space design with open-sourcing ideas. POLIS enlisted initiatives to be taken in the context of the European Mobility Week. In Berlin (Germany) a bike workshop is made out of a parking lot. In Plovdiv (Bulgaria) greenery and shade are chosen above the comfort of the car. The mission is to invite residents to rethink the urban environment. In Szeged (Hungary) citizens and children learn about the environmental impact of transport with an interactive game. For more community-based initiatives, take a look at Iedereen Gorilla!, Tactical Space and Better Block.