Skip to main content

Managing public spaces: innovative practices to build community networks for a resilient governance of public spaces

Vasiliki Geropanta



Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 17
Technical University of Crete
Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures
NE 197


By 2050, 70% of the global population will live in cities, bringing enormous challenges to our settlements, infrastructure, and public space. Streets, green areas, and open spaces are often overlooked and their quantity is diminishing. As our cities grow, the poor management and maintenance of the existing public spaces lead to their abandonment and degradation and to their privatization with limited access and fruition to the public. Furthermore, all the past year has highlighted the role of local governments for an effective and swift response to local needs, and the need for better communication and access to public spaces. For example, the COVID-19 has proved how impactful are the conditions of our public spaces in our daily life. It has not only highlighted the importance of the right to health but also its interconnections with several human rights, such as the right to a safe and healthy environment, sanitation, healthy lives, to get clear and transparent information, and participate and get engaged in governance processes. Unfortunately, few cities around the world meet this target, managing public spaces in inefficient ways. Among the reasons appear the unclear or fragmented mandate among different authorities (environment, public works, planning departments, etc) and the lack of adequate resources to properly maintain the public spaces. Clear coordination mechanisms need to be developed to improve communication between the different departments while seeking potential synergies and capacities outside the public sector. The private sector, civil society, and academia could provide crucial resources and capacities to improve the management and maintenance of public spaces. Leveraging capital investments, community efforts, and research capacities, our cities could build stronger community networks for more resilient governance of public spaces. Innovation and smart technologies also play a crucial role in facilitating a multi-stakeholder approach towards public space management. The event will present relevant efforts and good practices from different sectors on how to develop resilient governance to improve public space management. It will showcase innovative case studies which reflect on how better management of public spaces will improve their security and usability, transforming them into places where people can engage, connect, create opportunities for social inclusion and, especially, express their voice towards the use of public space and co-design their public space. Below are some guiding questions to structure the conversation: Briefly outline what is the role of academia in supporting and/or creating mechanisms for public space management? Briefly outline what is the role of civil society and communities in public space management and how could these efforts be acknowledged by local governments? Give an example of how innovative tools or smart technologies have supported the management and maintenance of public space.


- Promote the importance of public space management and the impact of quality public space in our daily life, especially after the pandemic - Highlight role of citizens and communities, local government, private sector, and academia in public space management processes - Demonstrate with good practices how public space management support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda

Session speakers

Ms. Vasiliki Geropanta
Assistant Professor
Technical University of Crete
Ms. Cristiana Lauri
Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow
European University Institute and Global Pandemic Network
Mr. Jose Chong
Lead Global Public Space Program
Ms. Marianne Makar
Advisor Urban Development
GIZ Egypt
Mr. Riccardo Porreca
Assistant Professor
UTE University of Quito