Oculus - Spring 2014 - (Page 18)

OPENER: OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: CIVIC SPACE NOW BY THOMAS MELLINS T his year the AIA New York Chapter's Presidential Theme is "Civic Spirit : Civic Visions," and no type of built environment reifies the civic realm more than public space: squares, plazas, parks, and streets. Regardless of how these spaces are owned, programmed, and policed, the idea that they belong to and can be freely accessed by all of us - the haves and have-nots alike - is essential to their character. In part because the issue of societal inequality - a "tale of two cities" - is currently dominating discourse about New York, public space has seized our collective imagination more dramatically than it has in decades. ©Lance Jay Brown FREEDOM AND CONTROL 18 At its core, public space demands that we focus on the relationship of the individual to the group, raising the question: How does the fact that we are citizens, not subjects, impact our built environment? For architects, landscape architects, and designers, a key challenge becomes how to most effectively create inviting, flexible public space that fosters public debate and discourse. Public space holds out the allure of taking one's place in society, of expressing one's identity, opinions, and beliefs. It also holds the potential for bearing witness and being watched. Occupying public space, one is immediately confronted with issues of freedom and control. How right the architect Charles Moore, FAIA, was in his landmark essay of 1965, "You Have to Pay for the Public Life," to point out a central contradiction in our Oculus Spring 2014 Civic Spirit: Civic Visions

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2014

Letter From the President
Letter From the Editor
Center for Architecture
Some Blocks Over
Opener: Open to the Public: Civic Space Now
The Search for the Soul of Cities
A Different Tale of Two Cities
Public Space Reasserts Its Political Role
Gatherings of One
Time to Welcome Woonerfs
Redesigning the Crossroads of the World
A Magical Place on the Water
How to Remember a Plague
Sustainable Models for a Just City
In Print
50-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2014

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