Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
​Architects and City Planners re-imagine public space
Over 4000 architects and city planners from all over the world converged on Durban’s ICC for the 25th Union of International Architects congress last week, debating contemporary responses to urban challenges through an unashamedly African lens. MILE through its partnership with Imagine Durban and the UCLG used the opportunity of having a captive audience of international built environment practitioners to test the ideas emerging from its Public Spaces Learning Exchange held in July this year.
This side-bar event that was over-subscribed gave over 70 participants a platform to reflect on what constitutes good public space and to make concrete suggestions on what are the critical success factors in designing people-centred public spaces. What was most interesting in the learning event was the consensus that planners seem to be obsessed with planning of the spaces. Rather it was suggested that public spaces be identified and then allowed to develop organically. People themselves, it was felt, make or break public space. Another interesting lesson learned was the need to learn from international best practice where some cities have a single dedicated department of public space to champion this role internally, obviating the common challenge of various departments passing the buck onto each other for the design and management of this critical resource.
A learning note is being developed and will be posted on this website soon.

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