The constantly shifting concept of “public good” poses a challenge to designers, stewards and managers of public space, as well as to politicians, elected officials, community leaders and citizens. How are public-good ideals rendered and tended in public spaces, sites, buildings, infrastructure and institutions?
The design professions have become very proficient in creating sophisticated urban public spaces – streets, plazas, parks, infrastructure, public art, and more. These places reflect inherited ideas about the commons and the public realm, but how well do they reflect the changing conceptions of “public good” in contemporary political discourse? Amid the often fragmented, distorted, and theatrical political realm, designers’ notions of public good must somehow find resonance with contemporary needs and desires. This Praxis Dialogue will explore gaps and connections between the design and management of public spaces and social, political conceptions of the public good.