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The section Periscope brings together links for websites with information concerning public space and the city, including the publication of books, articles and opinion pieces, seminars and lectures, and calls for entries in competitions or for prizes, among other themes. This overview of the general background of the European Prize for Urban Public Space aims to identify the most significant issues pertaining to public space and its most outstanding agents around the world.
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    Giving Streets Back to Residents

    Barcelona has radical new strategy: the habilitation of “superblocks” that will restrict traffic to a number of big roads, drastically reducing pollution and turning secondary streets into ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community
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    Smart Technology is a Solution Looking for a Problem

    We should not think of the advent of smart technology as inevitable. Maarten Hajer, chief curator of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2016, has a strong opinion on that matter: “If it doesn't help us get CO2 down, if it doesn't help us make cities more socially inclusive, if it doesn't help us make meaningful work, I'm not interested in smart technology.”
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    “Democratic Cities” Event in Madrid

     Next week, the Prado and Reina Sofia Museums in Madrid will host the “Democratic Cities” events, including key speakers, panel discussions and workshops to enhance the debate about how technologies can contribute to build more democratic cities.
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    “Yesterday’s Future” in the DAM

    The German Architecture Museum (DAM) recently inaugurated an exhibition on futurist utopian architecture models from the past century that were never realized. These were meant to provide ideas for living and surviving in phases of immense social upheaval.
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    Alarming Rates of Air Pollution in World’s Cities

    According to data released by the WHO, air pollution has risen 8% in five years in fast-growing cities. Causing more than 3m deaths a year, air pollution is considered the biggest single killer in the world, and stopping its advance is critical. Reducing smokestack emissions, using renewable power sources or reducing car traffic are some of the measures taken by cities to face the environmental emergency.
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    The Pitfalls of Smartness

    The forthcoming European Sustainable Cities Summit will largely focus on the idea of Smart Cities. We suggest a reading that questions the sustainability of the smart model, for it privileges the technical over the social, generates uneven geographical development and can potentially deepen social inequalities.
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    African Cities and The Future of Public Spaces

    During his introductory lecture to the “Future of Public Space” event series, Rashiq Fataar, director of Future Cape Town pointed out that there seems to be an abundance of outdoor public space but asked; Who owns it? Who uses it? Fataar further highlighted that care should be taken to make sure that our public buildings and internal public spaces are accessible as well.
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    The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet

    Investment in bicycle infrastructure is a modern and intelligent move. Plenty of research shows the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits of urban cycling.
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    Bigger Roads Make Traffic Worse

    Building bigger roads increases the number of users and makes traffic worse. Pricing out the use of car in rush hours, and replacing the space dedicated to cars and roads with rivers, parklands and smaller roads does not provoke congestion and improves the environment and livability of cities.
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    Remembering Jane Jacobs

    100 years after her birth, Sassen reflects on how Jane Jacobs “changed the way we looked at cities”. Jacobs focused her analysis and activism on the subaltern and sub-economies that, in spite of being ignored and endangered, are intrinsic to the urbanity of large metropolis.
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