African Public Spaces?

What is public space in African? Does it exist as we may presume? At the current, we are analysing and comparing urban life and presumed public spaces in selected segments of four African cities to map what we know about these cities. It is a first step in deepening cross-cultural understanding: An exiting start of a new exiting scientific journey along Dakar in Senegal, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Maputo in Mozambique, and Lusaka in Zambia.


Image by Vaggy Georgali
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Public Space: Changing Values

The Quest for Public Space: Changing Values in Urban Design, The City as Learning Lab and Living Lab

This article highlights the dynamics of values in our reasoning on public space. By means of an epistemological study, it tests the contemporary premises underlying our ways to safeguard the inclusive, democratic, agential city, and, as such, it aims to update our view on urban design. The article raises three subsequent questions: [i] Is the city our common house as perceived from the Renaissance onward, containing all, and consequently are public spaces used by the people as a whole? [ii] Is the city formalising our municipal autonomy as emphasised since the Enlightenment, in an anti-egoistic manner, and in this line, are public spaces owned by local governments representing the people? And, [iii] is the city open to our general view as advocated in Modern reasoning, restricting entrepreneurial influences, and synchronically, is its public spaces seen and/or known by everyone? – Inclusiveness, democracy, agentiality are strongholds in our scientific thinking on public space and each issue echoes through in the practice on urban design. Yet, in an aim to keep cities connected and accessible, fair and vital, and open and social, conflicts appear. Primarily based upon reviewing urban theory and particularly experiencing the Amsterdam for this matter, the answering of questions generates remarks on this aim. Contemporary Western illuminations on pro-active citizens, participatory societies, and effects of social media and micro-blogging forecast a more differentiated image of public space and surmise to enforce diversification in our value framework in urban design.

See:
Harteveld, Maurice G. A. D. (2017) The Quest for Public Space: Changing Values in Urban Design, The City as Learning Lab and Living Lab, IN Tieben, Hendrik, Yan Geng, and Francesco Rossini (eds) The Entrepreneurial City, , Rotterdam: International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) / Hong Kong: School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, pp. 395-411
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Chinese will Humanise Cities

December 20 to 21, after a lapse of 37 years, the Central Urban Work Conference was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech.

Embracing a new round of top-level design, the meeting reflects the Chinese central government attention to work in the cities. It is a more humane attitude. Everyone has its own ideal city in mind. For the country, the ideal city lies in what kind of philosophical concept is dealt with. Although, as the meeting stressed, cities should work as one engineered system, they should “adhere to people-centred development, adhere to human cities for the people. This is what we should do in the urban Works departments from start to end point”. “The city of the future lies in our own hands”, as depicted in the meeting, “so that the people live in the city more convenient, more comfortable, more beautiful.”

12月20日至21日,时隔37年后,中央城市工作会议在北京举行。国家主席习近平发表重要讲话。

体现了中央政府高度重视城市工作,迎来了新一轮的顶层设计。是一种更加人性化的态度。每个人心中都有自己的理想之城。对一个国家而言,理想的城市,在于用什么样的理念去经营。正如会议强调,城市工作是一个系统工程。城市工作要“坚持以人民为中心的发展思想,坚持人民城市为人民。这是我们做好城市工作的出发点和落脚点。”城市的未来掌握在我们自己手中”,正如会议所描绘,“让人民群众在城市生活得更方便、更舒心、更美好”。

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