A public space charter and prompt for space-makers to be facilitators of spatial justice. Printed in BUM Editions, Issue 2
Project by Mark & Cristina for BUM Editions magazine.
How can we create more equitable spaces in our cities? This ‘public space charter’ is a prompt for space-makers to be facilitators of spatial justice and to consider discriminatory design and policy decisions. How can public spaces be ‘ALL INCLUSIVE?’, they should:
Recognise that barriers to public space are not always physical • Not make you feel like you need to spend any money to be there • Encourage loitering • Be somewhere you can protest about how shit your government is • Allow children to be loud • Provide seating without worrying about attracting ‘undesirables' • Have statues of not only men • Not have "pig's ears" or "skate stoppers" • Not take the piss (have public toilets!) • Do more than just comply with accessibility legislation • Not favour cars over people • Recognise differences and treat them equally • Be a place to meet your first Tinder date • Not have green space under lock and key • Have flexible furniture, so it can be used in different ways each day • Seek progressive programming • Have free drinking water and wifi for all • Be wary of restrictive legal, policy and regulatory frameworks • Be where you meet people outside your social media echo chamber • Have space for displaying your missing cat/yoga session/’Thank God For Immigrants’ posters • Not have anti-homeless spikes • Be places you can log your 10,000 steps - or sit and do nothing • Be where it is forbidden to put up signs forbidding things • Treat kids as citizens and decision makers • Reject ‘’pay-to-play’’ events/performance spaces that exclude those who can't afford them • Encourage local commissioning • Not require a ‘’tables and chairs’’ licence or ‘’street activities permission’’ • Be free from yellow-vested busybodies • Not be a tick-box afterthought when seeking planning permission • Work around the clock and support night-time uses • Not have things named after slave traders • Be where you can give out crowdfunding leaflets for your pop-up LGBTQ+ bar without needing prior approval • Not be one-size-fits-all • Be somewhere to charge your phone • Allow day-drinking/summer kerb beers • Make room for the non-human • Be where you can draw on the pavement • Have clear and legible wayfinding • Not have curfews • Provide shelter from the sun, the rain - or your annoying housemates • Be where ball games are allowed • Not steal your data • Be surrounded by active uses - not blank walls • Encourage local stewardship • Build social capital • Be where you can sell your lockdown-made banana bread without a permit • Reduce ‘Bowling Alone’ by boule-ing together • Be spaces for friction • Be somewhere you can breastfeed • Not be a purified arena • Be where play is integrated and not restricted to ‘gymnastic activities’ • Recognise the power of the informal and the impulsive • Be a canvas for public art • Have things at different heights and sizes, to accommodate all ages and abilities • Not contribute to the climate crisis • Be where you feel comfortable with the presence of strangers •