Knight Foundation is supporting the new Next City series "In Public" to help civic innovators better understand how public space and civic life intersect and how these lessons can help build more successful communities. This article is re-posted from NextCity.org. (Photo by Allen Skyy via Flickr)
The High Line. Las Ramblas. Tahrir Square. Cincinnati’s Washington Park.
Urban landscapes may be covered by mostly private property, but when we think about cities, we usually picture the swathes of grass and pavement where we jumble together like so many bingo balls. These public spaces can become realms for inclusiveness and social integration or anxious spheres that encourage distance and sorting. While we intuitively sense the difference between Central Park and an office building plaza, rarely do we analyze why some civic spaces succeed in catalyzing empathy and connectivity, while others become isolated by class and race. To better understand how public space and civic life intersect, Next City is launching a new six-month series of articles called “In Public,” with funding from the the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.