What is public space’s service value? some relevant research questions

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In spite of its ‘youth’, Public Space theory is now facing recognition of its role in space production of contemporary urbanity. However, public spaces’ conventions (naming, codes, laws, rules, standards...) generally are not referred to by the needs they cover, neither by the services they provide, but as ‘qualities and attributes’ those spaces must possess. This practice leads to a notion of public space based on ‘exceptionality’ and on quality perception prevalence, rather than relational and organizational factors related to its production, use and meaning. So while awareness of Public Space has positive effects on available resources, mainstream concepts are narrowing representation of public space values. This is the knowledge deficit that PSSS research aims to tackle: to give conceptual primacy to needs public space must satisfy, requiring a critical analysis of space production processes (both of its hardware and its software) and leading us to a model focused on service, on the public value it involves and on the systemic way it is organized. For this purpose PSSS – Public Space’s Service System (an interdisciplinary research project led by IST - Lisbon University, with Oporto and Barcelona Universities’ urban research centres) aims to develop new concepts and tools to foster awareness of public space service value. We shall offer an integrated assessment methodology – through literature review, study of public space production and its interdisciplinary framework, case-study presentation and stakeholders’ interaction.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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