Co-created Street Furniture as a Catalyst for Urban Culture and Public Life

Laura Sobral

In São Paulo Brazil, as in many cities throughout Latin America, public open spaces have for decades been neglected. Public open spaces in these environments are generally unattractive, dirty and dangerous. As a result, people have organized their life around private spaces, further neglecting the public spaces.

In the last few years, the people’s urge to reconquer public open spaces led to the formation of many activists groups emerging from civil society. Many local collectives and institutions are now working to give life to public open spaces through cultural mediation and the collective building of urban furniture. The Largo da Batata process provide a case study, since it solves problems faced by the Government such as as low community engagement in the public space maintenance. The City Needs You Institute (Instituto A Cidade Precisa de Você) was created from this experience to share this learnings and develop possible models of shared management of a grassroots processes. The research on urban furniture has the potential to become a tool for dialogue and participation since stimulating direct actions in the public place, in collaboration with the users, nurtures a sense of community and addresses highlight users’ needs and expectations.

Funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the Senate Department of Culture.

Shared Cities: Creative Momentum (SCCM) is a European cultural platform addressing the contemporary urban challenges of European cities. SCCM is a joint project of Goethe-Institut (DE), Czech Centres (CZ), reSITE (CZ), Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (SK), Association of Belgrade Architects (RS), Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre – KÉK (HU), Katowice City of Gardens (PL), KUNSTrePUBLIK (DE), Mindspace (HU), Old Market Hall Alliance (SK), Res Publica – Cities Magazine (PL). Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.