How is Public Space Changing in European Cities?

  • 2016-03-25
  • The Guardian

There has been a significant backlash recently in London about the loss of public space, as green parks, open-air squares and riverside paths become victims ofprivate ownership. Last month, campaigners took part in a “mass trespass” outside City Hall – a site where even photography may be restricted by private security – to protest against the chunks of the capital falling into private hands.

But what is happening in the rest of the continent? Are other urban European spaces becoming more exclusive? Last spring in Belgrade, protestors took to the streets to campaign against the €3.5bn (£2.5bn) redevelopment of the Sava River waterfront, which will include thousands of homes, a business hub and the Balkan’s largest shopping mall – but residents are concerned that the government-backed project will be a Dubai-style makeover.

In Paris, on the other hand, a project in the suburb of Colombes has been developing a “bottom-up strategy of resilient regeneration” since 2012, which includes the citizen management of 5,000 sq metres of land, including food production and community activities.