Throughout my architectural education, I have taken the approach that good design comes from the heart of the user, and it is the role of the architect to be the mediator between other's needs and the physical form. Within the architectural industry, the traditional means of designing can often lead to homogenisation and exclusion, through using a one-size-fits-all approach. When it comes to city planning, designs often focus on easing use and control for top-down authorities, rather than truly understanding the individuals that use the space and putting their needs first.
My thesis project, titled ‘The Public’s Space’, explores the use, design and control of public space, with its users being the focal point. I began by developing a diverse methodology of on-site social experiments and performances in order to test the notion of ownership and power within public space. Through following and attending Manchester’s protests, I was able to discover a microcosm of public space users that come together to challenge the allowances of public space, whilst each having a different relationship to it. Each user type is highlighted through the process of the thesis, with a series of interventions designed to tackle the design of public space, whilst addressing the needs of each user type. The combination of my methodology and intervention testing lead me to question; what would public space be if it truly met the needs of its users? This became my conclusion, in which public space becomes a space for civic ownership, without restrictions that silence their thoughts and actions to overcome such powers. This is all represented through an interactive video in which the viewer can experience the proposal through the experience of each different user type.