What Role Will Public Space and Public Art Play in the Recovery?

In partnership with The Bentway. Featuring Ilana Altman, Co-Executive Director, The Bentway Conservancy; Guillaume Aniorté, International Development Advisor, Quarter des spectacles; Jing Liu, Co-founder, SO-IL; Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees, artists, Sans façon

5 Key

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. We need artists now more than ever

Public spaces and public art play a crucial role during times of uncertainty. In urban areas, as temperatures have begun to rise, physical distancing measures are being put to the test as residents yearn to be out in shared spaces and for community connection. Within artistic and creative communities, dynamic and collaborative ideas are in abundance.

2. Connectivity is essential 

Many of us have transitioned our personal and professional lives online. The long tail of the pandemic poses questions about how much of the public realm will shift from the physical to the digital. Panelists suggest that the answer is likely a hybrid. But they also noted that the physical urban experience is irreplaceable in many ways, offering incomparable forms of human connection.

3. The next phase of recovery will occur in public space

If we intend to redesign our public spaces to be more resilient, adaptable, and attuned to the new needs of residents, policymakers must incorporate the voices of architects and designers, artists, artisans, and other creatives from the very beginning. The expertise of public space partners is essential to finding new ways to inspire and connect community members during this challenging time.

4. A fertile moment for experimentation

 While this pandemic has bred so much distress, it is also an important moment for designers to redefine the “essential parts” of public space, and reexamine disciplinary intent and the challenges of delivering art, culture, and connection. For architects, for example, the global pause on production creates an opportunity for a broader conversation about the role of architects in contributing to conversations about equity, social practice, and accessibility in the built form.

5. Thinking global and local

While we may not be experiencing these challenges equally, we are all globally connected in a shared experience. We must think at both the local and global level – considering