This year, GPR2C participated in a survey conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, as part of evidence collection for a report addressing the importance of public spaces for the exercise of cultural rights and the challenges which must be addressed so that everyone can access and enjoy such spaces.
We are delighted to see our views have been included in the report´s Official Recommendations, stating:
“Relevant authorities should consider legal recognition of the right to the city and the right to public spaces as a means to develop human rights-based public policies. “
Public space and the Right to the City
The promotion, creation, and protection of quality public spaces is a fundamental part of the Right to the City Agenda, and recommending legal recognition of the Right to the City as a broader concept alongside the right to public spaces is significant.
Public spaces have social, economic, cultural, and political functions – it is not enough to simply clear space between buildings if those spaces are privately (or pseudo-publically) owned, can´t serve communities in which they are placed, or are exclusionary along socio-economic, racial, or gender lines.
Public spaces must be safe for women and children, accessible, free to enter, and provide public amenities such as playgrounds, sports facilities, green coverage, and be free to use as spaces of cultural and political expression.
We will continue our efforts to see the Right to the City enshrined in law and policy at all levels – doing so is the best means of ensuring that public spaces are given the importance they deserve, and serve communities as genuinely social, cultural, and democratic spaces for communities.