“When we speak of cities, we refer to the set of factors that make them what they are. Within the framework of this complex and highly interrelated set, it is necessary to underline the specific influence of the urban form as an essential container of the diverse social functions. Without an ordering space, it is not possible to achieve either the order of social functions or their stimulus. (…) The different categories of urban spaces reflect a political idea of society. If this political idea is grounded on progress and values such as freedom and equality, the conception of public spaces must include elements such as legibility, identity and cultural innovation. The three of them are vehicles of coexistence and educational instruments.”
Cities are dynamic. They are in a continuous building process, subject to global impacts that impose new paradigms and development modes.
Today’s cities are undergoing processes of fragmentation and dissolution of the social fabric, processes that strengthen each other to contribute to the quasi-disappearance of the public space as one of citizenship.
The problems and challenges faced by local governments are arduous, complex, persistent and often bewildering. They are situations that bring into play political options and decisions and in which a multiplicity of actors and institutions participate in the different levels of action.
Within this framework, it is the Local Government, through its departments, that comes up as the actor able to implement multidimensional proposals and responses, promote agreement, forge commitments and coordinate efforts aligning all these elements with the specific characteristics of the territories in the cities, building the public agenda together with civil society’s organizations and the private environment. The urban public space should be granted as a place of memory, a point of encounter and the basis for urban transformation.
Public spaces require citizens’ participation and debate in the planning, design and management processes, considering the particular attention required by the different social groups.
The city is also a pact, power, sedimentation; it is the past, present and future of its inhabitants, their projects and their plans.
The city is the space where its inhabitants may recognize themselves in everything that goes on in it and commit themselves with the transformation processes of both, the urban spaces and the current social processes.
City culture develops in this common space, in agorae where the exchange of ideas and knowledge is promoted, in places of encounter where people participate, relate to each other and share their experiences.
The city generate collective constructions in each territory, strengthens the identity, the social fabric and its coexistence relations.
Then, how should public spaces be developed for the citizens and for coexistence? How should the challenges for designing cities be tackled? How should their construction be integrated to social movements?
The impact of global transformations of local scenarios, the use and appropriation of public space, the participation of citizens, the dimension of memory in cities and the subjects and identities rising from them will be analyzed in this core subject.