Civic Stage

Jane Jacobs famously referred to great streets and public spaces as civic stages, on which the ballet-of-life is played out.

There are all manor of 'stages' that may support civic life. These may be allotments for growing food and enjoying like minded people, cemeteries for mourning or finding quiet, piazzas bustling with people to watch and lifting the spirit. Or simply, the street in front of your house where kids may play and people feel like they can stand and chat. In many cases, this requires striking a balance between our love of cars and the need for positive communal activities.

One example of this is a ‘homezone’, whereby a residential street is designed so that the power balance between resident's and vehicles is more democratic. Each of these civic stages must avoid incompatible activities but, need to be inviting and varied. Only then, may a diversity of people and personalities be catered for, in any given culture or community. Physical ‘props’ are fundamental – whether these are cycle lanes, seating, ping-pong tables, public art or planting.

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