Antifragile Practices to Design Social Dialogue in Contemporary European Public Spaces
European territories are crossed by an uneven transition that highlights a new geography of inequalities, fragilities, and fragmentations. Public spaces are one of the core features of European culture and today a number of events undermines their everyday body-scale dimension, exacerbating risk perception. This paper shows some preliminary outcomes of my ongoing PhD research, that digs a new spatial-relational strand involving the concept of antifragility. Introduced in opposition to the notion of fragility, antifragility describes the capacity of getting better from shocks taking advantage of volatility by dealing with randomness, disorder, and unpredictability. Holding this perspective, the paper deepens some specific antifragility features (i.e. the ability of learning from errors, the capacity of gaining from disorder –maintaining a certain degree of uncertainty–, as well as optionality and redundancy as methods to reduce shock exposure). The spatial value and design potential of these features is investigated through some remarkable public spaces recently built in Europe, so to show not only the potentialities of antifragility as a design issue, but also that public space is still the best environment in Europe to activate new urban dialogues –considered as the sum of social actions and spatial forms that co-design publicness.
Contemporary European public space, antifragility, social and spatial justice, new planning and design tools