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Stand up for Public Space!

We need your help to make this campaign successful!

We want to spread awareness on the importance of public space in our cities

Read the information about the project and how you can participate

Join our global campaign now!

Bologna, Italy

'Stand up for Public Space!' is powered by City Space Architecture

Our partner in Brisbane, Australia

Queensland University of Technology - Creative Industries Faculty

Our partner in Hong Kong

The Chinese University of Hong Kong - School of Architecture

Our partner in Auckland, New Zealand

University of Auckland - School of Architecture and Planning

Our Partner in Guayaquil, Ecuador

LASE + CityUrb

‘Stand up for Public Space!’ is powered by City Space Architecture


‘Stand up for Public Space!’ is a lecture by Dr Luisa Bravo,

President of City Space Architecture,

included in the UN-Habitat Global Urban Lectures Series, one of the UN-Habitat’s most publicly shared online outreach initiatives.

Open the lecture at UN-Habitat website.


With over 100,000 views, UN Habitat Global Urban Lectures are the most viewed videos of UN-Habitat. Every 15 min video lecture documents sustainable urban development knowledge of urban experts associated with UN Habitat and shares it across UN-Habitat’s wide partner base across the globe. These lectures are part of Habitat UNI, which is UN-Habitat’s partnership with universities worldwide. UNI (previously HPUI – Habitat Partner University Initiative) was introduced as a means of promoting cooperation between UN-Habitat and institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation among universities globally. UNI promotes universities becoming closer partners of cities, actively engaged in problem solving, thus closing the gap between academia and practice and encouraging collaborative learning. UNI promotes and facilitates the dissemination of educational and research products of its members and involve scholars, researchers and students in a number of activities. The collaborations aspire to create the next generation of urban leaders, managers, researchers and practitioners. UN Habitat acts as a catalyst, facilitating partnerships between universities and other agenda partners.

For more info regarding UNI Habitat:


Issues which the lecture addresses
Public space is more and more an emerging issue in our contemporary societies. In the research and academia discourse, we are often referring to exempla from the so-called global West or global North, thus imposing an oversimplified view of public space design, management and use, relating to successful projects and celebrating architects and urban designers. Those exempla are standing like relevant episodes in the urban context, but in some cases do not address the peculiarity and diversity of cities, societies and spaces, especially in those contexts where public space is mostly appropriated by informal and spontaneous practices: sometimes even a good design could not be able to create a proper public space for community life.
The notion and the approach to public space still needs a deep clarification, for scholars, architects, urban designers and city managers, mainly in the process of analysis and understanding of its complex evolving nature, especially from a bottom-up and user-oriented perspective related to everyday life.

Short analysis of the above issues
Today public space deals with cultural richness, identity and diversity, but also inequalities, contradictions and conflicts. Economic issues, privatization trends and gentrification processes are dominating aspirations of local communities. While a large group of scholars is currently questioning the ownership of the city, in many cities activists, private groups and organizations are advocating a better city and society, connecting innermost emotions of collective expectations to the outward manifestation in the public domain. In many cities they are already at work to establish a fruitful collaboration with property owners, developers, planners and politicians.
A general reflection is needed: as architects and designers, we still need to understand how to shape the world around us, we still need to define concepts, images and tools to outline the entire existing urban landscape. What is evident is that architects and urban designers should act as a part of the contemporary society, rather than superior and outside it, using their specialized knowledge inside a really complex process, on a common ground of debate and growth with local governments but also with local communities and stakeholders. The consolidated design process should be enriched with a real multifaceted and comprehensive approach, embedding aspirations of open-minded citizens through negotiation practices and sensory experiences.
For public administrators the management of public space appears today as a complex task, a balance between physical space and public life: the ability to see, understand and analyse such complexity should not be taken for granted.
Public spaces can behave as places of multi-layered connections, sharing ideals and cultural awareness: they can grant and gather all wishes becoming engine of a real social rebirth for people, neighbourhoods and communities, more than architectural landmarks that could be able to generate some kind of impact on the urban context. We should take care much more of our ordinary, existing urban world, with a more humble and sensitive approach, even with small but proper, context-based design interventions, rather than looking for some new, extraordinary, big-scale, glittering solutions. In the global West or global North this is especially true in the suburban environment.

Propositions for addressing the issue
The lecture will address the following issues:
– top-down approach vs bottom-up practices in the contemporary age
– architecture/architects and urban design/designers as open-minded tools/actors
– the relevance of public space in the urban discourse
– the players involved in the public space process
– lessons learned and what we still need to know/do
– what everyone can do everyday for public space


Luisa Bravo is an architectural engineer and an academic scholar, educated in Italy, UK and France. After completing her PhD, with a thesis on contemporary urbanism, at University of Bologna (Italy, 2008), she has been researching, teaching and lecturing in several Universities, in Italy and Europe, the United States, Middle East, Asia and Australia. Visiting scholar at IURD – Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California Berkeley (USA, 2012), Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Design, Lebanese American University in Beirut (Lebanon, 2015), she is currently Adjunct Professor in Urban Design at the University of Florence in Italy.
Luisa is the Founder and President of City Space Architecture, a non-profit organization based in Italy that performs as multidisciplinary platform for scholars, professionals, artists and citizens engaged in architecture, public space, cities and urbanity. She is Founder and Editor in Chief of ‘The Journal of Public Space’, established by City Space Architecture in partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
At the Habitat III conference held ind Quito (2016), Luisa launched a global campaign called ‘Stand up for Public Space!’, promoted by City Space Architecture, in order to spread awareness on the importance of reclaiming public space as a common good in our contemporary cities.
Luisa’s full profile is available here.




Stand up for Public Space!

The Charter of Public Space:

The Journal of Public Space:

The European Prize for Urban Public Space:


Academic readings

Bravo, L. and Sgarbi, C. (2013), The public space of education, Vol. 4, n. 1 (special issue), IN_BO. Ricerche e progetti per il territorio, la città e l’architettura, Department of Architecture, University of Bologna, open access journal, available at

Bravo, L. and Crawford, M (2014) “Publics and their spaces: renewing urbanity in city and suburb”, in Cavallo, R. et al. (eds), New urban configurations, IOS Press & TU Delft, The Netherlands, pp. 784-789, ISBN 978-1-61499-365-0

Crawford, M. et al. (2008), Everyday Urbanism, Monacelli Press, New York

Fraser, N. (1990), Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy, in ‘Social Text’, n. 25/26, pp. 56-80

Hannay, A. (2005), On The Public, Routledge

Harvey, D. (2008), The right to the city, in ‘New Left Review’, vol. 53, Sept-Oct, pp. 23-40

Kelbaugh, D. (2001), Three Urbanisms and the Public Realm, Proceedings of the 3rd International, Space Syntax Symposium


Bottom-up actions

SpontaneousInterventions | Design Actions for the Common Good:

Tactical Urbanism:


Activist Academy – Public Space and Activism

DIY Urbanism


Opinion pieces

Jane Jacobs and the Power of Women Planners, by Roberta Brandes Gratz:

Who owns the city, by Saskia Sassen:

How to build a sustainable city, by Jamie Lerner:


Video lecture

Jan Gehl, In Search of the Human Scale (TEDxKEA)



Urbanized, a film by Gary Hustwit

The Human Scale, a film by Andreas Dalsgaard on the work of Jan Gehl

Human, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand







There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans.

- Jane Jacobs -

Do you want to support our campaign?Contact us
via Paolo Giovanni Martini 26/d, Bologna, Italy


Lead Organization

Partner Organizations

City Space Architecture qut-logo cuhk university_of_auckland-svg Print


City Space Architecture
Bologna, Italy
Queensland University of Technology
Creative Industries Faculty
Brisbane, Australia
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
School of Architecture
Hong Kong
The University of Auckland
School of Architecture and Planning
Auckland, New Zealand

LASE + CityUrb,






Social Media Campaign


Stand up for Public Space!

Your Favourite Public Space

QUT Ethics Approval Number 1600000966


Principal Researcher: Dr Luisa Bravo

President of City Space Architecture

Adjunct Associate Professor – Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

Associate Researcher(s): Dr Mirko Guaralda | Senior Lecturer – Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Hendrik Tieben | Associate Professor – School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr Manfredo Manfredini | Senior Lecturer – The University of Auckland

Mr Luis Alfonso Saltos Espinoza | Principal architect and Director – LASE + CityUrb


This project is being undertaken as a collaboration between the cultural association ‘City Space Architecture’, based in Italy, Creative Industries Faculty – QUT, The Chinese University of Hong Kong – School of Architecture, The University of Auckland and LASE + CityUrb, a design firm based in Ecuador.
The purpose of this project is to foster a discussion on public space as a common good through the collection of experiences, stories, habits and activities, documenting public space and its users from different geographical contexts.
This project intends to provide a good insight of what a public space is for people in different countries and different continents. Data from the research will inform the development of a new taxonomy of public spaces and their uses, which might be useful to inform future planning documents and policies.
You are invited to participate in this project because you have an interest in public spaces and willing to share this passion with others.



Participation will involve taking a photo of your favourite public space and share it with the research team through Twitter or Instagram. We would like you to include a short description of the image letting us know where is this public space, what it means to them and why you would like to share it with the broader public. Completing this task should not require you more than five minutes, in addition to the time to reach and visit your favourite public space.

Please submit your entries using the following hashtags:

#standupforpublicspace     and/or     #myfavouritepublicspace

Submitted images and descriptions will be shared with the broader public on the website images and descriptions will be filtered before being uploaded on our website so to ensure that only relevant material is shared. Inappropriate contents or contents that might be deemed embarrassing will not be uploaded on the website.
Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary. If you agree to participate you do not have to complete any task you are uncomfortable answering. Your decision to participate or not participate will in no way impact upon your current or future relationship with ‘City Space Architecture’, QUT, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The University of Auckland or LASE + CityUrb. If you do agree to participate you can withdraw from the project without comment or penalty, you can request to remove the contents you have provided from the website, but because you have submitted your entries through social media, you have to be aware it will not be possible to remove them from the net.


Expected benefits

It is expected that this project will not directly benefit you. However, it may benefit the broader public providing a better understanding of new typologies and uses of public spaces. Findings from this project might be used to develop new tools to inform planning and urban design.



There are no risks beyond normal day-to-day living associated with your participation in this project.
You can participate in the research in your own time and decide your level of engagement. You can submit an image and a description, but if you want you can just submit an image without any obligation to provide an extensive text. We would like at least you to let us know where the place is.
In taking images of public spaces, please be considerate of other people and their privacy. Collected images will be screened to remove any inappropriate content, but we would recommend you anyway to be cautious in taking photos and check that the content you are submitting are not embarrassing for any of the eventual people included in the image.
You have also to be aware of the fact that images will be displayed on the website linked to this project, so even if you are a current user of Twitter and Instagram, the content that you provide will be accessed by a broader public than your current followers. In submitting your entries, you can use your real name or decide to protect your privacy using a nickname or alias.


Privacy and confidentiality

All comments and responses will be treated confidentially unless required by law. The names of individual persons are not required in any of the responses, but your identity will be linked to your entry because you are participating using your twitter or Instagram account.
Data are collected through social media and displayed on a public website; you have to be aware the images and comments that you submit will be accessible by the general public, not only accessing our website, but also searching the dedicated hashtag for this project.
If any of the people eventually included in the image you submit, ask to remove the image from our website, we will do so in order to respect their privacy. Alternatively, people included in your image might request the blurring of their face and any other recognisable feature and we will respect their request. All received images will be included in our research dataset, but all images will be screened before being uploaded on our website to ensure that no inappropriate contents are included.
Any data collected as part of this project will be stored securely as per QUT’s Management of research data policy at the end of the study when the website will be deactivated.
Please note that non-identifiable data from this project may be used as comparative data in future projects or stored on an open access database for secondary analysis.


Consent to participate

The submission of an entry for this research project will be taken as consent to participate in our research.


Questions / further information about the project

If you have any questions or require further information please contact one of the researchers listed below.

Dr Luisa Bravo                                       +39 051 6142934


Concerns / complaints regarding the conduct of the project

QUT is committed to research integrity and the ethical conduct of research projects. However, if you do have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project you may contact the QUT Research Ethics Advisory Team on +61 7 3138 5123 or email The QUT Research Ethics Advisory Team is not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an impartial manner.




Get in touch!

Do you want to know more about our global campaign?
Come and visit us in Bologna (Italy), give us a call (+39 051 614 2934)
or drop us an email (
and we will get back to you as soon as we can.