Research Initiative

2020: A Year Without Public Space under the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 passes in a blink.

COVID-19 completely changes our world, our work, our school and our daily life routine. COVID-19 also changes the public space where we for the first time have to stay away with during global lockdown, spaces where we perhaps took for granted for joyous gatherings, block parties, after-school hangouts, parks where we share experiences, exchange a thought, bump into neighbours and colleagues, have become cold spaces for disseminating hygiene items and food supplies, testing cases, or otherwise deserted and fenced off. Yet, at the same time, new spaces emerge, bike lanes, pedestrianized zones, pop-up installations, eateries and street stalls have found their ways in many cities and administrations.

The Journal of Public Space and Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), public space scholars, practitioners, and activists across the globe spent the year 2020 exploring an array of aspects of public space, believing that we can build social and health resilience by establishing an open environment for discussion and learning while taking advantage of technology and virtual platforms that many can currently access for free. As the pandemic moved across different continents and urban conditions, they shared experiences from far and wide via weekly webinars, international symposium, and cross-country cross-sector research.

A Cidade Precisa de Você, Brazil
Centre for the Future of Places, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Cluster for Sustainable Cities, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
City Space Architecture, Bologna
co+labo radović, Architecture and Urban Design Laboratory, Keio University, Japan
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, & Orville Simpson Center for Urban Futures, University of Cincinnati, USA
Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, USA
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, The British University in Egypt (BUE), Egypt
Department of Architecture, University of Thessaly, Greece
Department of International Urbanism, University of Stuttgart, Germany
ETSAB Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain
I-AUD, Meiji University, Japan
Integrated Urbanism & Sustainable Design (IUSD), Cairo Lab, Ain Shams University, Egypt
Observatorio Ciudadano por el Derecho a la Ciudad y Espacios Públicos de Guayaquil, Ecuador
Public Space Research Group, Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center of City University of New York, USA
QUT Design Lab, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Research LAB for Urban Settlements and Landscapes, Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
RMIT University, School of Art, CAST – Contemporary Art and Social Transformation Research Group, Australia
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, China
Urban @ Parsons, The New School, USA
Urban Commons Lab, University of Washington, USA
Urban Design | Public Space, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), The Netherlands
Urban Relational Informatics Lab, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
Urban Synergies Group, Australia

Duration:  2020