Public Space? Lost and Found Publication
Public Space? Lost and Found explores the contemporary evolution of public space from the milieu of design and artistic thinking and practice at the civic scale. It gathers an eclectic cast of practitioners and theorists of the public domain and welcomes all readers interested in how the production of public space plays out (or could play out) under interrelated, accelerating conditions shaping the present, such as ubiquitous computing, climate change, economic austerity, and the rise of various stripes of political extremism and isolationism. The premise of this collection, conveyed in its title, is that public space is perpetually being lost and found according to big changes in the social and technical makeup of our lives—it is a perennial and open concern.
Public spaces change as our modes of publicity change and as the threshold between public and non-public, intimacy and exposure, shifts. Producing new and relevant works of art and civic technologies in support of a public domain means being ready to disorient and reorient oneself toward the contemporary features of public space, as well as the forces walling it off, buying it out, or making it redundant—even obsolete. Today, amidst an incredible boom in information environments and marketplaces, new forms of mediated sociality and solidarity, and explosive, cross-scale threats to personal and ecosystematic security, it is easy to develop civic vertigo and lose sight of how public space works and for whom. We need to be nimble and open in our approach, which includes a serious questioning of the enduring viability of this term: public space.