A park is approachable to every class of the

A public space is a space that is accessible to
people and it helps to promote social interaction, social activities and a
sense of community. It can be a marketplace, parks, footpaths, sites within
public buildings etc. Public spaces can accommodate various uses like cycling, walking,
common interaction point. Every public space have a
unique characteristics about it , like whether it’s an urban public space ,
suburban public space or rural public space because the activities happened
there totally depends on the social characteristics of the area . Other than
the social characteristics of that area geographic, demographic, connectivity, economic,
functionality and ethnic diversity of that area is also important. Example- Neighborhood
park is approachable to every class of the society and used for large number of
activities ranging from jogging , cycling to small get together whereas a
public space in a public library will not be approachable to every class of the
society and a limited amount of activities will happen there. And its working
hours is totally depends on the library working hours.Public space
reflects
the community’s local character and personality. It Foster social interaction
and create a sense of community and neighborliness and provides a sense of
comfort or safety to people gathering and using the space. It encourages use
and interaction among a diverse cross section of the public and reflects the
local culture and the history of that area. The economic value of public space is as it offers very
clear benefits to the local economy in terms of stimulating increased house
prices which are near to the public space which gives relaxing landscape and
feeling of openness to the people living nearby, since house buyers are willing
to pay more prices to those houses. More public spaces attract the visitors and
increases the tourism results in more revenue generation.

The
impact on physical and mental health of the city people as obesity and stress
is a major public health problem and a growing concern particularly in children
and young generation i.e future of our nation. 37.9% of adults aged 20, 20.6%
of adolescents aged 12 -19 years and 17.4% of children aged 6-11 years and 9.4%
of children aged 2-5 years are suffering with obesity (National Centre for
Health Statistics 2013-2014). Public space is a great place
for walking, jogging, cycling and sports which eliminates obesity problem and
improves mental health also.

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Play is crucial for many aspects of children’s
development, from the acquisition of social skills, experimentation and the
confrontation and resolution of emotional crises, to moral understanding,
cognitive skills such as language and of physical skills. Play and public green
spaces has a greater value for the special children with autism and children
with attention deficit disorder.

Public spaces have also known for reducing crime and
fear of crime, to a much lesser extent. Always occupied with the nearby people
increased the safety of the young children playing. The benefits of increased
lighting creates a safer environment for the girls and womens.

In urban areas, significant increase in hard
surfaces like roads , pavements results in increased temperatures which is also
called as heat island effect and reduces the percolation of rain water in the
ground results in low water table. Public spaces or private gardens can help to
redress this imbalance and improves the air quality. Trees provides shade. Nature
and wildlife helps to restore the urban fabric.

Historically, public
space is not always a gathering place. In the ancient Greek, agora was first a
central market but also a place for assembly for the town’s people and a
setting in which ceremonies and spectacles were performed. In Athens it was
first surrounded by private houses, but later temples and sanctuaries so it is
impossible to characterize the agora as either a religious, civic or political
space, as it brought together all those activities. Another yet important open
public spaces were streets where people interact , celebrate and congregate. In
India, because of the hot and humid climate houses were places closely which
leaves streets were the corridors of the infrastructure and also occupied as an
essential space for the people interaction, celebration point1 .In
the words of Arjun Appadurai. “Streets , and their culture , lie at the heart
of public life in contempory India. Especially in those many cities where urban housing is crowded and
uncomfortable, where the weather is never too cold, streets are where much of
life is lived”.1Now, India has the second largest population in the
world. With increase in the urbanization and population densities, comes a
major demand for land. In this context, the first set of spaces is to develop
is open spaces which results in a change in the urban form and physical
configurations of space within the city. Due to this, the amount of open spaces
accessible to the general public reduces.2

Streets in India have a tradition that women would
spend the day gossiping, cutting vegetables and washing the clothes on the verandahs
and also conversing with the neighbors and buying vegetables from the streets
vendors. India’s streets have a history of being shared spaces by the pedestrians,
thela walas , bicycles, bullock carts etc. Streets are ‘cohabited spaces’. ‘Life
worlds’. “The streets are a theatre of contiguity, chance, conflict and
conviviality.”3
Streets are also serves as canvases for public expression against political
regimes and for social issues and religious beliefs.

The current literature on streets in India can be
grouped into three categories. The first includes writings that describe the
street as a space of difference. These are characterized by descriptions of
Indian streets that are ‘deviations from modern ideals’. Kidambi 2007, Bose
1965). The second includes writings that characterize streets as ‘manifestation
of power, arenas on which forces of global capital and ideologies of
neo-liberalism unfold (Rajagopal 2001, Whitehead and More 2007).’4The
third includes writings on the culture of Indian streets with descriptions of
their sensory and chaotic efficiency and their place within the Indian urban
context (Appadurai 1987, Srivatsa 1997, Edensor 1998).

Footpath is a
pedestrian way, walking trail that is used only by pedestrians and not other
forms of traffic such as motorized vehicles. It can be alleys, lanes, steps
etc. Historically, When there were no motorized vehicle, Streets fulfilled the
function of footpaths. Nowadays it’s a part of road which is used only by
pedestrians.Footpaths also give an interesting experience of public
space. One can walk whole days in cities to experience this public space; one
can learn about the culture just by walking around. Indian cities portray
diversity of cultures and activities. Street activities work as ‘eyes on the
street’, that keeps cities safe, and ‘Creates neighborly environment’ (Jane
Jacobs). 

 

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