Rahil

The Ideal Public Space

15 November 2014

8/28/15 update
I’m hijacking this old post for a newer set of ideals.

todo: take from home page, todos / notes, and three months in Taipei

9/16
Choosing actions based on the gathering of knowledge.

A constant progressive education.

Leading to DIY spaces in cities, independent schools in less developed areas, hostels, public venues, open mics, hip cafes, central parks.

These are spaces where diverse peoples converge, interact, share skills, experience together, share ideas.

There is a distinction between public spaces with events with an underlying business purpose and those without

What would the ideal space be?:

Something between a progressive school and a DIY space? One where people can be themselves yet participate in classes.

Mention modern schools in New York, The New School, and DIY spaces.

It is indeed nice to see New York have many forms of public spaces: progressive schools, DIY spaces, public venues, vocational schools, and art schools not affected by wealth.

Why did the resurgence of vocational schools take so long? No one should spend four years to learn how to make a website. A single workshop could do that. And nearly every university fails to offer a good liberal education.

That’s what exists. Let’s go back to nothing. What is the ideal public space?

It would have the obvious characteristics:
Everyone is welcome.
Physically open most of the time
Anyone can propose something.
Easily accessible
No underlying business directions
No constraint in subjects*
etc.

If a space plans to have DIY stuff, then a building is required. Otherwise, a gazebo at a park would do.

To keep it alive, there has to be someone there.

To keep it growing, there has to be events.

There is no end goal in a public space. Like a special non-evolving pokemon, it stays a public space.

If a group of people find direction, it should not influence the entire space’s direction; They are just a group of people in a space, which may do things (create projects). (Though it may help finances and grant-writing)

[todo: need to think more]

*Is having no direction possible? A bunch of random mics or meetups often have no results. It will just die. Indeed a direction vs diversity problem. I’m optimistic. It has to be possible. It’s entirely up to the people to collaborate and create. It just helps if there is a constraint. But the constraint shouldn’t be on the entire space. Instead, just constrain events for creativity.

Should people do work (full-time or temporary) at public spaces? Only if they contribute to the space enough? If it’s a free space, like outdoors, then there’s no stopping them.

Spaces lack external stimuli. Perhaps meet-ups should alternate locations, or be in transit.

Possible income for spaces in buildings: food (part restaurant!), drinks (part cafe?), sleep (part dormitory? hip travel services?), merchandise, commission whenever a person is hired from the space, door charge for events.

[todo: hmmm, could use more thoughts

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_Public_Spaces

]

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