1 Benefits and strains of the participatory public space design
Participation, including social consultations, has become a standard in public space design. Its advantage is the sense of social agency, which translates into identification with the place and fosters the community. Such a formula, however, does not always guarantee an interesting design. This results from competing interests of commissioning parties, users and designers themselves. Everyone involved needs to learn the process, time and patience are required. Other types of participatory activities are associated with the bottom-up activist movements. These, in turn, effect from their disagreement to the appropriation of public space. This article provides three examples: the first one refers to reducing the number of advertisements in urban space (landscape conservation law), the second – to participatory budgeting, and the third – to the development of cycling infrastructure in Kraków. These examples present the long and tedious process of transformation, despite the “social pressure”, and even despite legislative changes.
Keywords: participation, social activism, social consultations, participatory budgeting, landscape conservation law