Public space in South Africa can contribute to creating thriving and inclusive communities, as they provide natural beauty and recreational space and play a vital role in creating a sense of community. However, if not activated or maintained, public spaces can become neglected, uncomfortable and even unsafe.
There are different types of public spaces ranging from open spaces such as streets, parks, sports fields and plazas to urban facilities such as community halls, libraries, sports facilities, and spiritual/religious sites that each have their own role and function. These can be important spaces of relaxation and recreation, but also for learning and income generation. Community halls and libraries are often used as by organisations to host training sessions or upskilling courses, while street and market traders can earn a living on streets and plazas streets and plazas are important sites for informal livelihoods where street and market traders earn a living.
Activated public space that is created through inclusive and participatory methodologies helps foster safer, more inclusive and sustainable neighbourhoods. These are spaces that should be open, inclusive and accessible to all people at no charge, regardless of socioeconomic background, age, gender and physical abilities, where a variety of activities can take place.
However, it is important to acknowledge that public spaces are experienced differently by different people based on how they are owned, managed and designed.
We want to hear from you, how do you use and take ownership of your public space?
Share your photos, videos, poems, quotes and feelings on what public space means to you. How do you use and engage with the space? How have you made the public space personal, either solo or with friends, family and loved ones.
From 1 September to 30 November, we will be collecting those stories and sharing them on SaferSpaces as an inspiration to every resident in South Africa to go out there and own their public space.
Submissions can be sent to email@example.com
Submissions are limited to 150 words or a maximum file size of 5mb