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How municipalities should approach the transformation of public spaces or Guidelines for Planning Public Spaces in Small Towns

Abstract: In general, public spaces are what represents and symbolizes the city. Their design either enables or, to the contrary, complicates community life. Therefore, their appearance has an impact on the quality of life and satisfaction of the inhabitants. It is in public spaces where people relate to their place of residence. From a visitor's point of view, public spaces are the first thing they notice and encounter. Due to various circumstances, public spaces sometimes fail to meet the above-mentioned features or do not fulfill them to the degree they should. At such a moment, the town management decides on a total or partial transformation of its public space. It is in the interest of the municipal leadership to create attractive public spaces for its inhabitants. Attractive not only in terms of the aesthetics of the architectural design, but, more importantly, in the creation of a pleasant space that will primarily meet the needs of their future users i.e., residents or other groups of users. It is thus important to involve local people, representatives and members of associations, organizations and businesses in the preparation and creation of the study assignment. That is why CTU UCEEB has developed the Guidelines for Planning Public Spaces in Small Towns, which is an output of the research project Livable cities and communities: Guidelines for planning of public space in digital era. The research project was supported by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic through the ÉTA programme and its application guarantor is the Central Bohemian Innovation Center. The guidelines are the result of the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of architects, urban planners, sociologists and psychologists, whose aim was to approach the research topic – planning public spaces from the perspective of municipal representatives – holistically and practically so that it is as comprehensible as possible for readers. Thus, the guidelines accompany representatives of small towns, who do not have the professional or personnel capacity to deal with public spaces, through the process of planning, preparation and contracting out the public spaces studies which leads to a quality assignment for a public space study. The guidelines also include tips for improving public spaces, recommended practices for public participation in planning the transformation of public spaces, and a site assessment form from a layperson's perspective. The aim of the paper is to present the background and the result of the applied interdisciplinary research, which is the above-mentioned Guidelines for Planning Public Spaces in Small Cities, the process of its development and its validation, as well as to reflect on the experiences and findings carried out collaboratively by an urbanist and a sociologist.

MALÁ, Michaela, SÝKOROVÁ, Martina (2021). Jak by obce měly přistoupit k proměně veřejných prostranství aneb Metodika plánování veřejných prostranství malých obcí. In: Jiří Kugl, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 14. ČVUT v Praze, Fakulta stavební pp. 106-125. ISBN 978-80-01-06893-9. ISSN 2336-7695.