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Public Space Academy: a transformative learning experience for a new approach to urban complexity built around public space

The first, free, interdisciplinary educational program entirely dedicated to public space, aimed at establishing a more comprehensive, human-oriented understanding of our cities and societies.
date June 28, 2022 | 10:00 - 13:00
Multifunction Hall Room 12
City Space Architecture
Equitable urban futures
TE 12


The Public Space Academy is promoted by City Space Architecture, an Italian non-profit organisation, in partnership with the Ove Arup Foundation and in collaboration with UN-Habitat’s Global Public Space Programme. It will start in the Fall 2022 as an online and open initiative and will provide introductory and advanced training on public space, engaging the best and most influential scholars, professionals and practitioners, from different backgrounds and expertise.

The main objective is to inspire and empower a new generation of urban thinkers and innovators who are willing to become agents of change in their own cities and communities.

The course presented at WUF11 is a preview of the contents that will be included in the Public Space Academy, and it is designed to introduce the complexity related to public space, with multiple levels of understandings and interpretations, from an interdisciplinary perspective. The beneficiaries of this course are young and experienced scholars and researchers, practitioners, and representatives from local and regional governments. The course will provide theoretical contents and also methodology and tools for the design of practical solutions. Participants will:
- learn how to tackle urban and social issues and define priorities for public space design;
- acquire knowledge to present and discuss reasons and relevance of a public space strategy integrated in local, regional and national policies;
- understand the importance of a city-wide public space strategy intended as an action-oriented approach to acquiring, setting up, planning, implementing and maintaining a network of high-quality public spaces in a city or town for future sustainability and urban resilience.


The training session presented at WUF11 will be related to three main objectives:

- introduce public space complexity and the need for multidisciplinary analytical skills to analysis, design and management: public space is not merely a design activity related to landscape urbanism or infrastructure facilities but it is more and more involved in a technical and political process dealing with land use, environment, infrastructure networks, social issues and policy making, in response also to global trends such as massive urbanization, privatization and gentrification;

- expand understanding on how public space is a crucial asset for sustainable development, both as a top-down/expert-led activity and as a bottom-up/citizen-led practice;

- defining a comprehensive urban strategy for local implementation, that is built around humans and their life in the public domain, putting public space as a priority in the urban agenda: well-designed and well-managed public spaces can provide opportunities for formal and informal economies by attracting investments, entrepreneurs, and services, enhancing the value of land and property, redefining urban environments with human vibrancy and livelihood, encouraging walking, cycling and play, and improving physical and mental health.

Session speakers

Ms Luisa Bravo
Founder, President
City Space Architecture
Ms Sara Candiracci
Associate Director
Ms Dasha Moschonas
Urban Designer
Mr Jose Chong
Programme Manager
Mr Hendrik Tieben
Professor / Board Member
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture / City Space Architecture
Ms Setha Low
Professor / Board Member
Public Space Research Group, CUNY The Graduate Center / City Space Architecture
Mr Riccardo Conti
Executive Director
Catalytic Action
Ms Michelle Pannone
Assistant Professor / Board Member
Marywood University / City Space Architecture