The former director of The Architecture Foundation (AF) and member of the jury of the Prize discusses the values of public space and the dangers it faces.
Sarah Ichioka, former director of The Architecture Foundation (AF), was interviewed in April 2012 when she visited the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) as a member of the International Jury of the European Prize for Urban Public Space 2012, as she had done for the 2010 award and will also do for the 2014 award. In the interview Sarah Ichioka defines public space as the place with provides the infrastructure that makes it possible for “people from multiple backgrounds to access it, feel comfortable in it and feel free to express themselves”. For her, good public space is one that “embodies both durability and flexibility”, which does not happen in most public spaces since they tend to present one quality separately from the other. However, besides the values of public space, Ichioka also mentions the dangers it faces, highlighting those arising from the economic crisis with the concomitant disinvestment in anything that is financed by public money and also the growing brandification of urban spaces.