The future of public spaces in the dawn of rapid urban growth
The unprecedented speed and scale of urban growth in the global south is cited as the largest obstacle to achieving sustainable urban development. This chapter examines the outcomes of the global processes, reflecting on changes in the critical thinking underpinning cities and urban regions. Public spaces have been the arenas of conflict and potential struggle over claims to its control and over its accessibility to different groups in society. The inclusion of public space in New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals is a welcome shift towards improving quality of life in cities. In doing so, it encourages urban planners and decision makers to shift away from the natural tendency of viewing the city as an assemblage of urban infrastructure, to instead focus on building integrated and holistic cities that deliver the experiences and interactions desired by their citizenry. The chapter concludes by advancing a number of key principles for leveraging public space as a transformative element of city-building.