The Role of Artists in the Creation of Public Space

Public space plays an important role in cities. Essential to creating good public spaces, according to this commentary from <em>The Nation</em>, is the art community.
September 13, 2009, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"In a word, public spaces are built, not natural; they are the result of constructive intervention rather than laissez-faire disinterest. There is an "art of public space," which requires more than no-car signs, traffic cones, concrete barriers, tables and chairs. Happily, New York possesses an urban resource ideally suited to creating public space: artists. Now that the Department of Transportation has temporarily liberated some space from automobiles--city officials will decide at the end of the year whether to extend the traffic ban--it needs to shape that space in ways that invoke democracy, attract usage and make it "public" in the deep sense of commonality, interactivity, connectivity and community. The idea of creative public space will not fail, but New York may fail to realize it.

To succeed, public space will demand greater public investment and better understanding of the role artists and the arts play in putting such investment to imaginative uses."

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Published on Friday, September 11, 2009 in The Nation
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