Public spaces such as parks, trails, libraries and community centers have the power to build trust in institutions and bring people of all backgrounds into public life as stewards and advocates. By investing in a high-quality public realm and promoting civic engagement, these places can serve to counter the staggering impacts of the “epidemic of loneliness” sweeping the nation. They become the place to foster belonging, encourage people to engage with others that may have different backgrounds and opinions than their own and address the increasing challenges of climate change.
On October 24 – 26, the Civic Commons Learning Network hosted Civic Commons Studio #8: Public Space as a Solution in Lexington, Kentucky. The gathering focused on how public space can be a solution to generational challenges.
With the Civic Commons efforts in Lexington, Ky. as a backdrop, we delved into emerging practices, insights and challenges and learned how public space is central to more civically engaged, democratic and resilient communities. Teams shared their work to date and experienced the work in Lexington through tours and explorations with insights from national thought leaders, panel conversations and breakout discussions.
Image credit: Mark Mahan, Amanda Miller Amankona, Brandi Peacher