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29 October 2018

"It’s necessary to get people involved in the process of creating public space"

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[English | 00:04:00]

The architect Marina Tabassum, winner of the Aga Khan Award and recently included in the list of the "100 most influential people in the world in 2024" by Time magazine, reveals her favorite public space.

The architect Marina Tabassum believes that, in order to create good public space, it is not sufficient to design it and produce it in the hope that people will use it. Citizens must accept it. When this doesn’t happen, the space is neglected and lifeless. Tabassum says that the best way to ensure that the public space will be good is to involve citizens in every step of the process of its creation. The result of the joint creation tends to be a space that is tailor-made for users, who will experience and treat it as their own.

One public space with special meaning for Tabassum is the South Plaza of the Bangladesh Parliament complex. For many years, this large area used to become a vibrant public space at weekends bringing together citizens from many different backgrounds. However, for security reasons, the government decided to close access to the square, limiting the part open to the public to the footpath, which citizens still fill with activities. Tabassum misses that earlier large public space, a true urban oasis, which is so necessary in a congested megalopolis like Dhaka with its seventeen million inhabitants.

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