From August 2nd – 4th, 2016, the workshop on “Public Spaces: Creating Safer, Inclusive, and Accessible Public Spaces for All” was held in Kuala Lumpur, co-organized by CityNet, UN-Habitat, and Kuala Lumpur Regional Training Center (KLRTC). This was the first regional workshop from UN-Habitat’s Program on Public Space, which marks the beginning of a reinforced effort to promote public spaces in Asian cities.
The workshop was led by Cecilia Andersson and Sohel Rana from UN-Habitat, and Sayel Cortes from CityNet. They were supported by three guest speakers who brought different perspectives: Prof. Mike Douglass from the National University of Singapore, Filippo Boselli from the World Future Council, and Mahbuba Sultana from Prothom Alo Bondhusbava Awareness Development Secretary. Eighteen participants from seven countries actively contributed to the discussion and presented innovative ideas to improve the design of several public spaces they visited in Kuala Lumpur.
City-wide multidimensional planning for public space policy brings together different areas of the local government connecting not only internal functions within the city government, but also creating spaces that link multiple issues of the city. From this perspective, public spaces are enablers for safer cities, local economic development, health improvements, and better quality of life.
CityNet recognizes the opportunity and the need to promote strategic interventions to detonate wider positive impacts in Asian cities, and this successful workshop on public space is expected to be the initial step towards that direction.
In the coming months CityNet will help to connect the grant opportunities offered by UN-Habitat’s Programme on Public Space with member cities which are potentially eligible for funding to further promote better quality public spaces.