Urenio Watch Watch: Cities

Global Public Space Toolkit: From Global Principles to Local Policies and Practice

public5In this report, produced by UN-Habitat, Sida and INU, the important role of public space within a city is highlighted. Public space has been used as a measure, and at the same time as a tool for improving mobility, access to public services, stimulation of economic activity or social inclusion.  

The aim of the toolkit, described in this report, is to guide policies and strategies at city level and to provide examples linking policies to practices, regarding public space. Public spaces are key components of successful cities, due to the fact that they are strictly connected to quality of life in urban areas.  Î¤his report reveals a number of functionalities related to them, including banner of urban civility, generation of income, production of environmental sustainability, improvement of public health, safety and social inclusion enhancement etc.


Therefore, while the goal of improving the supply and quality of public spaces appears obvious, what qualifies this proposed goal is its emphasis, through the added term distribution, on having public spaces perform the role of promoters of equity and social inclusion.

A policy process is recommended, accompanied by a set of policy tools:

  • Policy tool 1: Knowing Where We Are to Know Where to Go ‘“ City-wide Public Space Surveys.
  • Policy tool 2: Measuring the Quality of Public Space.
  • Policy tool 3: Securing Political Commitment.
  • Policy tool 4: Legislation and Public Space.
  • Policy tool 5: Anchoring Public Space in National Urban Policies and Seeking Synergies within Government.
  • Policy tool 6: Street-led Approach to City-wide Slum Upgrading.
  • Policy tool 7: Planning Public Space as a System.
  • Policy tool 8: Using Public Space to Lead Development Strategies.
  • Policy tool 9: Participation as if it were a Public Space − Openness, Access, Sharing.
  • Policy tool 10: Leveraging Public Space as Resource Multiplier.


Creating, managing, and enjoying public spaces are often conceived separately, but should be considered jointly if public spaces are to be a success. The creation, design, regeneration and upgrading of public spaces have to keep in mind the needs and aspirations of present and future users, as well as the ease of maintenance and repair.


Read the full report here.