Democratic Public Space

Back to
Under Ramp Park_Thumbnail_1920x1080
Agora of Athens_Thumbnail_1920x1080
Left: CMG's Under Ramp Park in downtown San Francisco, CA. Right: Located to the northwest of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora of Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora. The literal meaning of the word is gathering place or assembly.

1. Cities for People

CMG’s mission statement is about making public spaces inviting, inclusive and comfortable for everyone. These public spaces complement other public facilities, such as libraries and schools, to function as social infrastructure – creating a foundation for resilient communities. Inviting spaces are those that serve neighborhood and district needs and have features and activities that people want to come to. Inclusive spaces remove barriers that create undue effort and separation, both physically and socially. Comfort includes well designed places to sit and linger, and basic support such as shelter from the elements, drinking water, restrooms and the feeling of safety and care.

Social infrastructure creates a foundation for resilient communities.

Civic Center_FullScreen_4480x2520

CMG's Civic Center Public Space Design is a space for all San Franciscans: a ceremonial gathering place that welcomes everyday use and inspires civic pride.

2. Streetlife

In San Francisco the public right of way makes up 25% of the total public open space but because of their limited functions and low quality do not support public life to their full potential. CMG works to make streets vibrant, high quality public spaces that support social life and sustainability and are venues for cultural expression.

Estuary Commons_Thumbnail_1920x1080
Civic Center Engagement 4_CMG_Thumbnail_1920x1080
Left: Estuary Commons Co-Creation Right: Civic Center Community Outreach

3. Public Space Rights

Public space is within the full control of the public, including its design, functions, activities, and oversight. Public agencies and designers should begin any conversation about public space with a democratic process in which all members of the public are included and equal and ensure equity in the planning and long-term management of public space. The best way to create more inclusive and Democratic Public Space is through an inclusive and democratic process that is conducted by people who reflect and represent the community.

The best way to create a more inclusive space, is through an inclusive process.