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Re-Imagining Public Spaces: From Past and Present to Future

Part 1 Dissertation 2020
Leila Alighanbari
University of Hertfordshire | UK
An exploration into the changing nature of public space through the lens of historical and current case studies, the research investigates the near-total privatisation of public spaces in London and the implications this has on users.

With the ascendance of globalisation, private developers have rolled out intensified surveillance across public spaces, making a business asset out of big data analytics from information they collect about users. A projection of possible futures for public spaces has been formed around the analysis of contemporary pseudo-public spaces, data collection and surveillance capitalism. In order to see how the social functionality of public spaces can be improved, power dynamics in the design process were examined, experimenting with the rearrangement and redistribution of design power.

This would entail a move away from top-down approaches in public space design, so that bottom-up design processes involving users could become more common in the smart-city, empowering smart-citizens at a local level. Optimisation of any limited available space is of paramount importance to ensure that society can still benefit from safe and multi-functional public spaces where social interactions can occur comfortably, while the rights of the user are kept at the forefront of design.

Leila Alighanbari

Tutor(s)
Rosa Ainley
2020
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