Public Space: a Strategy for Achieving the Equitable City written by Pietro Garau – UCLG Committee on Urban Strategic Planning


The concept of inequality, introduced by the social sciences, has been gaining
increased attention since leading economists (e.g. Lansley, 2012; Stiglitz, 2013)
demonstrated the positive relationship between equity and economic growth.
In addition, environmental awareness increases once employment levels rise,
basic needs are satisfied and educational levels improved. We also know that in an
increasingly urbanised world, our planet’s livability would be determined by what
happens in cities. Therefore, equity in our cities can be considered a fundamental
driver of sustainable development.
This note argues that equity, besides being a powerful driver of sustainability, is also
a fundamental goal in itself; and that a good way of achieving the “equitable city” is
to adopt a public space centered urban strategy. One of the many reasons for this
is that public space is where all citizens, regardless of their income and personal
circumstances, can feel equal and cared for. Unfortunately, the quality and supply of
public spaces vary dramatically among cities and within most cities.

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