Public Spaces and Disaster Recovery

Public space has been defined by researchers based on use, accessibility and ownership. It is further guided by ethnical, demographical and design-based elements, explaining use as well as the users of space. Public spaces as shared community spaces are responsible for facilitating and structuring sociocultural activities and community interactions. As a platform for engagement, these spaces have been considered the medium for cohesion of sociocultural activities in the built form. Quality of public spaces is also related with the quality of urban life in cities. The liveability of the cities and the quality of its social life are associated with its public spaces. Defined as ‘place of simultaneity’ by Madanipour, public space can be seen as a stage for performance and at the same time as a test for reality.

A network of open spaces in the city and its relation with urban resilience is increasingly being recognised. The flexibility in the nature of public spaces explains its appropriation to various uses by users under various circumstances. Along with social and recreational activities, the use of open public spaces at times of disaster is highly recognised. The public space and its collective dimension becomes central in situations like hazards and disasters as the feeling of fear is mutual and shared by all. These public spaces play a prominent role in integration and motivation of the community to progress together towards recovery.