Despite its importance in promoting sustainable urban development, public space has not been given the attention it deserves in literature and, more importantly, in the global policy arena. Yet there is a growing body of principles and sound policies for improving access to good public space in our cities, as well as a growing patrimony of good practices from different urban settings around the world. What was missing up to now was a compendium of some of the most relevant principles, policies and practices. For this reason, and in keeping with the mandate given by its governing body1, UN-Habitat has decided to put together, in cooperation with the Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica (INU) and other partners, a toolkit – a user-friendly guide to provide cities, and particularly those with high rates of demographic growth and limited financial resources, with actionable ideas on how to improve the availability, quality and distribution of good public spaces.
The toolkit will be a practical reference for local governments to frame and implement principles, policy recommendations and development initiatives on public space and for central governments to aid their efforts with material support and enabling legislation. It will also serve the purpose of demonstrating the value of the involvement of the citizenry and civil society in securing, developing and managing public space in the city.