8th September 2016 | Sime Darby Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur |
CITY SPACES, PUBLIC PLACES
The ‘International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities’ (WCSC) is in the 8th year since conception that has so far provided a constructive platform to enlighten, educate and change the mindsets of city stakeholders, industry players, Government agencies and general public on what makes great livable and sustainable cities.
This conference is organized by a tripartite collaboration between the Real Estate Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) Kuala Lumpur Branch, The Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM). It has the support and endorsement of Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
Much of the knowledge and ideas learnt throughout the years have been transcribed into real projects in the many cities of Malaysia, especially Kuala Lumpur. Pedestrianization, bicycle lanes, opening up city rivers for public spaces, greater art and design into the city are many of the initiatives that were born from the WCSC series throughout the years.
WHY PUBLIC SPACES & PLACES?
What is a public space? According to Wikipedia, “A public space refers to an areas or place that is open and accessible to all citizens, regardless to gender, race, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic level” : that is, a place where anyone can come; spaces where there is no entrance fee, no dress code and no script.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) launched by the United Nations is in September 2015 also stressed on the importance of public spaces through Goal 11 – ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ and specifically Goal 11.7 which states that “By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities”.
Public spaces – sidewalks, parks, squares, traditional markets, and small plazas – and how people use them – humanize cities. Urban public spaces serve to enhance human happiness and to promote a sense of concern about others, ensuring civility in cities. Our cities are today overwhelmed by office buildings, apartments, shopping malls, elevated roads, where streets have been taken over by cars and where few have access to parks, squares, plazas and public gardens to go for a little rest, recreation, exercise and free socializing.
Increasingly, many cities of the world see public spaces and places as vital towards humanizing our cities; these are also places that can contribute towards as a city’s local economy (through commercial opportunities, employment and tourism) and its vitality.