Close Reading Public Space

Public Space Detective is an ongoing research project observing common and uncommon phenomena in public space. Floor van Ditzhuyzen founded the blog in March 2020 as a response to the world being in lockdown after COVID-19 struck. This unique, unprecedented situation emptied cities all over the world, rendering streets and squares void of publicness, and leaving public space in limbo. Positively, the Corona-crisis also brought the resilience of public space to the surface; its capacity to bounce back, to transform, and provide room for new functions, programming and phenomena.

The Public Space Detective blog is the result of Floor’s visual scavenging, roaming the streets of Rotterdam and other cities with the objective not only to document but also to unravel and question the observed phenomena. Which mechanisms, strategies, intentions, forces, processes, routines, patterns, narratives, unwritten laws, rules, and rituals lie at the root of these phenomena? Close reading public space.

About Floor van Ditzhuyzen

Floor is an architect, researcher, curator, and tutor with long-standing interest in, and experience with, public space. She is founding partner of the Rotterdam-based design studio the Ontwerpwerkplaats, and has won awards with projects like the Pop-Up Bus Stop.

Floor is founding partner of the international We Love Public Space Festival and involved in the research and design collective Rooted Urbanism. She writes columns for the Dutch platform Rooilijn and the international platform Mastering Public Space.

What I find fascinating is how public space forms the stage for our every-day, social-cultural interaction: we meet, eat, party, play, demonstrate and clash in public space. Thus, it is reflecting the changes and transformations that shape contemporary society.