Kimmelman draws attention to the symbolic nature of public space and emphasises the importance of ordinary spaces which are often unappreciated even though they are a true magnet attracting community life.
The interview with the architecture critic and essayist Michael Kimmelman took place in June 2018 on the occasion of his visit to the CCCB to give the lecture “The Cities We Need”.
Kimmelman goes back to the Greek origins of public space as a place shared by all the citizens and a concept which, ever since then, has been linked with the idea of democracy. It is there where society defines itself and represents the essence of a city. For him, public space is not only a lovely square or a place to go and visit, but a meeting place with a significant symbolic presence which has in no way diminished in importance in the digital age.
Asked about his favourite public space, Michael Kimmelman mentions Ludwigkirchplatz in Berlin, a simple neighbourhood square which he often visited while staying in the city. The square has no special architectural interest and yet, like so many other unexceptional places that are frequently undervalued, it has magnetic power in attracting everyday community life.