Co-creation of inclusive cities: Safety and identity in public spaces

The workshop brings together architecture students from Indonesia and Weimar.
Beyond the practical activities designed by CGE toolkit, there were inputs about
the situation of public spaces in Indonesia, Italy and Lebanon, Latvia, and
2-4. November 2023, Weimar

Safety in public space is a major issue in cities all over the world. In this workshop, we worked with students from architecture and urban studies on the question how places in Weimar could be taken as an example on how to increase the security, especially for women.

The workshop was introduced by insightful lecture about the “Alternative Future of Bolzano, Italy” by researcher Mustapha El Moussaoui, PhD from Free University of Bolzano, where he presented the five future scenarios for South Tyrol 2050, based on research project of EURAC and SIBE. Then it was followed with the lecture on “Understanding Urban Space Phenomenologically”, as a research method of public space, based on the case of Beirut. The case study from Riga, introduced by Prof. Peteris Skinsis showed the importance of CPTED Approach in public place design. Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt presented the German perspective of Safety and Identity in public space, by analysing the concept such as “defensive architecture” in public space to influence people’s behaviour.

Case study from Yogyakarta by Arif Budi Sholihah, PhD brought us to the understanding of “Cosmological Axis of Yogyakarta and its landmarks” and the issue of safety due to the increased number of youth gangs’ violence. In the afternoon, Dr. Ammalia Podlaszewska introduced “Placemaking as tool for Social inclusion” and the principle of Placemaking, based on PM4I project’s implementation. In this workshop we used toolkit that has been established by the initiative „Culture Goes Europe” (CGE). Dr. Ammalia Podlaszewska, chairperson of CGE and architect, facilitated the activities of this toolkit. 

By conducting many activities with the students in the public space we noticed that they easily develop critical thinking on the physical aspects of it, but some immaterial dimensions are more difficult for them to grasp. Among these are the issues related to the link between public space and the feeling of safety. Thanks to some creative methods that use brainstorming, flipcharts and the wheel of diversity youngsters are guided to reflect on the public space from a point of view of the safety felt by different target groups, mainly looking at how personal identity and safety are interrelated.

The total 45 students were divided into 8 groups, working on 8 public spaces in Weimar. The groups were testing five tools related to public space life, identity of public space, reimagination of public space, safety walk and plinth assessment tool. All the group needed to test the “place-identity map” tool as a “live map” which allows students to understand what differentiates our public space from others. The differences can be attributed or perceived by inhabitants through interviews or by us through observation and investigation with it.

In the last day, the groups presented their findings of the assigned public spaces. Despite of the background and cultural differences between Indonesian and German students, certain aspect of non-formal education and exchanges were taking place during the workshop. The joint workshop tried to shed the collaborative process in placemaking as the recognition instrument in spatial and social justice emphasised as a process of co-design to enable a ‘reactivation’ of the place and the community that lives there. We see ‘’Placemaking’’ as the result of social construction with emphasis on how places fundamentally constituted by social relations and reflexive practice.

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