It has long been a worry that public spaces have become steadily privatised – but nowadays, there is both an insistence that notionally private spaces be opened up to the public and more proscription about what and who public space is for. Whatever it is, public space tends to be seen as an unqualified good, a designated realm where people can come together as a public. But who comprises the public that designers and politicians constantly invoke? Why has public space provision become so ubiquitous? Who is it for, what can they do there and should there be so much of it?
Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, the speakers are Alastair Donald, associated director of the Future Cities Project and architecture programme manager, British Council; Rowan Moore, architecture critic, Observer; author, Why We Build; Jack Self, contributing editor, Architectural Review; director, the REAL Foundation. The chair is Austin Williams, associate professor in architecture, XJTLU University, Suzhou, and director, Future Cities Project.