What is the purpose of public spaces?

What is the purpose of public spaces?

Lilkiker is located in the west of Oslo, on the border with Baerum. Mustad Eiendom owns large parts of the region.

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It is a public responsibility that the city has good, open and inclusive public spaces. But should it be a public responsibility to operate and own it so it can serve its purpose?

Mustad Eiendom owns a large area north of Lyssachar. Mustad has been operating in the area for 150 years and wants to develop Lilleakerbyen into a vibrant urban area over the next 150 years. Lil'Kerbin will be a metropolitan area where urban spaces will play a particularly important role: they will frame the life, well-being and activity of the city.

Aftenposten recently wrote about the city's public spaces. Challenges are indicated by the restriction of the general public to urban spaces owned by private actors. Through this, an image can be created that private ownership of public spaces means privatization, exclusion, and censorship of opinion.

My claim is that there is absolutely no need for such a connection to exist. On the contrary, it is in the interest of private actors that the urban spaces they own are open and inclusive. Urban spaces where people thrive increase the value of an area.

Today, parks and squares developed by individuals must be handed over free of charge to the municipality, which will be responsible for their operation and maintenance. This is in order to preserve public interests.

This was also the case with the new park we developed based on feedback from people in the local area.

The municipality has taken over a popular park with fruit trees, a trampoline, a swing and a fountain, where children can play.

The water in the fountain was stopped immediately, and we have to visit it frequently to ensure that the maintenance meets our quality requirements.

At the moment, Mustad Eiendom manages the rest of our region, which we want to continue. Annually we spend at least NOK 15 million to maintain the ranking of the region.

We want to offer impeccable maintenance and outdoor spaces that invite use. We have never had, and will never have, rules that limit people's freedom of expression or use of our urban spaces. We want to take responsibility for Lilkerby becoming a place where people feel welcome and use it.

Our proposal is that the interests and rights of the public be preserved in land registries, which legally oblige us to ensure that our urban spaces meet the demands and expectations of the public. The municipality then only has to supervise and avoid the large costs and responsibilities of operation and maintenance.

Public spaces must be open and inclusive, and of high architectural and operational quality. When this is ensured, it must be subordinate to whoever is responsible for operation and maintenance.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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