Shared Spaces speaks with Carme Ribas, an architect with a clear sensibility vis-à-vis the urban condition, who is to be the president of the jury for the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2014.
In conversation with Shared Spaces last October, Carme Ribas reflected on the twofold condition of public space as both meeting place and transport and pedestrian infrastructure. She says that a place functions as public space to the extent that it is well connected with the rest of the urban fabric and, in particular, when it is easy to move through it. In this sense, she warns that shopping centres, although they often satisfy this condition, should not be seen as public space because “they are fragments of the city which are only accessible for some people” and that, in fact they bring about “desertification” and “failure” in true public spaces that are open to everyone. Ribas adds that the best works in urban space are those in which the project designer has been able to stop in time because “there are many public spaces where the design is so assertive that the effect is intimidating”.