Public Space: From Public Opinion to Citizens’ Commitment
When important decision-making processes are based on public opinion and dependent on majority support, they lose their capacity to incorporate new actors into collective transformation initiatives and to create new forms of human interaction.
Scene from the film “Amanece, que no es poco” (1989). Ngé goes to vote at a polling table supervised by the mayor, the parish priest and a corporal of the Civil Guard . After voting, the results are announced.
Transfixed by the recent crisis in the notion of representativity, numerous institutional mediums have found that new tools are required in order to include more voices in decision-making processes. In city planning and development, people are already talking about institutionalised participative planning, a form of public planning and urban design which seeks to take into account the opinions of as many people as possible. It’s an idea that goes beyond the notion of technical-public representativity and serves to legitimise urban initiatives.
This approach to decision-making has been described as a top-down paradigm, as opposed to a bottom-up paradigm.
Principales rasgos en los procesos de toma de decisión Top-Down y Bottom-Up. Tabla comparativa. Elaboración propia
Assuming both these paradigms evolve to their full potential, the question arises of how we can establish urban development instruments capable of connecting the two and bringing them into agreement.
At fasebase, we believe part of the solution lies in the inevitable transformation of public institutions from developers and executors of actions for the public good into providers of time frames and human and material resources for the building of communities. We’ve also seen how some of the actions taken on by institutions in this new role as “facilitating” entities consist simply of backing the generation of spaces where people can meet in the city. Spaces which, thanks to communal management, encourage the inclusion of new actors, the creation of new links between residents and the forging of greater collective commitment, while at the same time visualising the need for local level planning. Spaces which, in the words of Raons Públiques, are capable of “going beyond the participation by invasion/participation by invitation dichotomy”1.
Methodological overview of civic design for activating public space. Guía de Activación de Espacios Públicos, p.32.
Essentially, the idea is to work towards building urban public spaces which, without relinquishing their public purpose, are open to communal action and communal management, and to extend their present role as aggregators of opinion to accommodate the concepts of autonomy and collective commitment in the ways they are used and transformed.
Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
RAONS PÚBLIQUES (2018). << ¡Sí se puede!; Construyendo el “Así se hace”>>, in LACOL (2018). Construir en Colectivo. Participación en Arquitectura y Urbanismo, Pol·len Edicions, Barcelona, pp. 22-27.
YouTube uses different types of cookies (including preference or personalisation cookies – volume, video quality – and personalised advertising, i.e. based on a profile drawn up according to the user’s browsing habits) when providing its services.
They allow the monitoring and analysis of user behaviour. The information collected through this type of cookie is used to measure the activity of the website, in order to introduce improvements based on the analysis of the use made by the users of the site.
They allow users to remember information so that they can access the website with certain characteristics that differentiate their experience from that of other users, such as, for example, the language or the appearance or content of the website, depending on the browser through which they are accessing it or the region from which they are accessing it, etc.
They allow users to remember information so that they can access the website with certain characteristics that can differentiate their experience from that of other users. In particular, Arquia uses them to remember the language selected by the user in subsequent sessions.
They allow the collection of information on the behaviour of users, obtained through the continuous observation of their browsing habits, in order to develop a specific profile and display personalised advertising based on it.