Canadian Group Advocates More Shared Use of Indoor Public Spaces

Members of Canada's new, Foundation for Indoor Pubic Spaces believes personal wealth shouldn’t be the only criteria for determining who gains access to the spaces, rooms and buildings in our cities.

Beyond the property market, other methods of negotiating the use of space can comfortably coexist with the current system. Students, seniors, the unemployed and ordinary working people all need opportunities to enact their own visions of urban living.  

The Fondation hopes to promote discussion and utilisation of indoor public spaces, in all shapes and sizes - from cafés to libraries to shared workspaces in squatted buildings.

Founder Matthew Lie-Paehlke says they are on a three-part mission, "To promote and explore existing indoor public spaces, to advocate for more indoor public spaces and, hopefully, to obtain and operate shared spaces of our own."

"The online directory we're developing was born out of my own experience as a graduate student attempting to study indoor public spaces.  There is considerable research about specific slices of the category - squats, shopping malls, social centres - but there is no discussion of the category in general, either to compare different forms of indoor public space or to catalogue existing spaces," he said.

"Right now, the Foundation is little more than a concept being worked out on the back of a digital napkin.  However, if enough people contribute their ideas and start talking about indoor public space with their friends and colleagues, it has the potential to radically change the texture of our cities," said Matthew.

The Foundation for Public Space website includes listings, a blog and relevant resources and links.