Professor Carlo Sessa speaks about the importance of including citizens from the very beginning of decision-making processes for any urban project
Carlo Sessa, an expert in demography and statistics, was one of the speakers at the Barcelona Training School on Inter Transdisciplinary Urban Research, a workshop organised by the Ersilia Foundation and held at the CCCB from 13 to 16 February 2017.
Professor Sessa spoke about the usual process of decision-making for urban projects in which designers and politicians plan the intervention and only consult citizens when it is about to be implemented, without having explored any problems that might affect people living in the vicinity. This practice is “top-down” management which does not include discussions with citizens when defining the aims of projects and, as a result, does not take local aspirations into account.
In general terms, he defines good public space as a place where people feel safe and where children can play without the need to be closely supervised.
As for his favourite public space, Sessa gives as an example a place he discovered during his stay in Barcelona, namely the Forat de la Vergonya (Place of Shame) in the Santa Caterina neighbourhood. He was surprised to see a very simple, open football field in the middle of the space where everyone can go to play. Still more striking is the fact that this exists in the old centre of Barcelona.