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09.2013 Berlin: Public space that excludes. A case study from Warsaw


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Presentation showed at RC21 Conference in Berlin "Resourceful cities" in session about spatial exclusion. More details:

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09.2013 Berlin: Public space that excludes. A case study from Warsaw

  1. 1. Public space that excludes. A case study from Warsaw Adam Piotr Zając University of Warsaw RC21 Conference, Berlin 31/08/2013
  2. 2. Plan of presentation 1. Accessibility of public space 2. Theoretical framework 3. Warsaw’s historical background 4. Findings from project Warsaw Map of Barriers 5. Universal design – constraints 6. Conclusions and recomendations
  3. 3. 1. Accessibility of public space
  4. 4. Defining the problem Users have similiar needs regarding to public space: • Safety • Accesibility • Attractivity etc. Answer to these needs must meet the specificity of different users. Users of space need to come into various interactions, like observing one another, in order to avoid a collision (Conley 2012: 220). The interest of the group they represent becomes one of identity determinants,. Common needs of space users are today recognized to a very small extent.
  5. 5. Groups of users of public space • Pedestrians • Passengers (also with luggage) • Turists • Parents with trolleys • Bikers • People with physical disablities • People with sensory disablities (blindness, deafness) • People with mental disablities
  6. 6. Social movements Trolleys’ Critical Mass, source: Crazy wheelchairer, Source: Warsaw Critical Mass, source:
  7. 7. 2. Theoretical framework
  8. 8. Ali Madanipour - spatial exclusion • 3 dimensions of social exclusion: – economical – political – cultural • Access as major aspect of defining social exclusion • Oposition: triple excluded vs. completely integrated • Space is an arena of exlusion and fighting for access. Designing public space require providing access and possiblity of existence for groups exposed to marginalization. • Marginalization brings the danger of alienantion of system from life of the people Source:
  9. 9. Right to the city concept • David Harvey (2012): Not only have citizens right to access all resources and supplies in the city, but they can also change them and use in a new way. Citizens should have collective power on urbanisation processes and influence others actors’ actions. • If everybody has right to the city, how can we provided enough voice for exluded (weaker) groups? • Different groups of urban activists legitimazing their actions with Harvey’s concept.
  10. 10. Ewa Kuryłowicz (2005): 3 ways of designing space and objects Isolation in private space Specific solutions just for disabled people Universal design • 3 different historic approaches to problem of designing space for disabled people: • Shift from complete exclusion to complete inclusion • From different to universal design for all users • From pure vision of designer to consultations and standards
  11. 11. Universal design approach The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. 1. Equitable use 2. Flexibility in use 3. Simple and intuitive 4. Perceptible information 5. Tolerance for error 6. Low physical effort 7. Size and space for approach and use NC State University, The Center for Universal Design, Version 2.0 - 4/1/9
  12. 12. 3. Warsaw’s historical background
  13. 13. WWII and Warsaw uprising Source: Source:
  14. 14. Towards modernistic vision of city • After WWII: ambition to build modern city • New vision: Car oriented city (Autogerechte Stadt) • Multilevel intersections • Multilane, wide streets • Underground passages in city centre • Functional division of city, industrial and residential zones. • High block of flats, free green space – longer distances
  15. 15. Reclaiming the streets for people • Traffic calming in residential areas • Pedestrians zones, • nobody critize univeral accesibility idea • Still many inaccessible places (old infrastructure) • Hearable voice of citizens (but not everybody and always accepted by designers)
  16. 16. 4. Findings from project Warsaw Map of Barriers 1000 obstacles in Warsaw
  17. 17. Some statistics… • 6 categories of barriers • 6% of fixed places • Each groups of points has it’s own characteristics… 35% 28% 12% 7% 7% 6% 5% SHARE OF CATEGORIES IN TOTAL NUMBER OF COLLECTED BARRIERS, N=935 pedestrian crossings bus and tram stops stairs underpasses others fixed places overpasses
  18. 18. 1. Pedestrian crossings 291
  19. 19. 2. Stairs without ramps 113
  20. 20. 3. Flyovers/viaducts for pedestrians 46
  21. 21. 4. Underground passages 69
  22. 22. 6. Bus and tram stops 238
  23. 23. 5. Other obstacles 61
  24. 24. Accessibility of railway stations in Warsaw • 49 stations • 29% accessible for physic disabled passengers. Other groups have worse results. • Main problems: entries with stairs, unworking elevetors, too steep ramps • No reliable information for passengers. • Source: SISKOM (2013)
  25. 25. Reasons of inaccessibility Architectural Barriers Infrastructure which has never been accessible Infrastructure which was meant to be accessible Infrastructure in bad condition Infrastructure designed in wrong way Infrastructure bulit in wrong way
  26. 26. 5. Universal design – constraints
  27. 27. Universal design: why not? • Not important problem or to big problem to solve • Additional economical costs • Need of consultation with users • There is no possibility to solve all of the problems • Expert knowledge vs. knowledge of users • Against strategic documents or common interest
  28. 28. 6. Conclusions and recomendations
  29. 29. Questions to consider • Who occupies public space? Who has right for equal access? • Who has power to fight for equal access? • What assumptions lay behind design of public space? For whom we design public space? • Is spatial exclusion in architecture an universal experience for contemporary cities? • Is bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city the ultimate vision of the city?
  30. 30. References • Conley Jim. 2012. A Sociology Of Traffic: Driving, Cycling, Walking. IN: Vannini Philip (ed.) Technologies of Mobility in the Americas. Oxford & Bern: Peter Lang. • Harvey David (2012) Bunt Miast. Prawo do miasta i miejska rewolucja, Warszawa: Fundacja Bęc Zmiana. • Kuryłowicz Ewa. 2005. Projektowanie uniwersalne. Uwarunkowania architektoniczne kształtowania otoczenia wybudowanego przyjaznego dla osób niepełnosprawnych. Warszawa: Stowarzyszenie Przyjaciół Integracji. • Madanipour Ali: Social Exclusion and Space. In: The City Reader. 5th edition, Routledge New York 2011 • The Centre of Universal Design .1997, The principles of universal design, Version 2.0 - 4/1/97. North Carolina State University. [WWW document]. URL: d/udprinciples.htm (accessed 12/06/2013)
  31. 31. Thank you for your attention Adam Piotr Zając Centre for European and Regional Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw Member of the board in SISKOM