Robin Abad Ocubillo (Director, San Francisco Shared Spaces Program, USA)

Robin has been involved for over a decade in civic innovation with public spaces that have transformed not only the physical spaces of the city but our expectations about how streets and sidewalks can serve us. These decades-long experiments, notably the parklet typology, have also prompted us to make sometimes slow, and incremental, but nonetheless radical shifts in governance and policy of the public realm.

Robin discusses how places are physical, but also imprinted with socio-psychological histories and memories. He asserts that as Placemakers, we have an opportunity to recentre our work on healing, justice, and reparative work.

If public spaces truly do belong to all of us - to all of humanity - and we have a “Right to the City” as Henri Le Febvre famously wrote, 

Robin believes that we need to start leveraging our practice to break down barriers - be they physical, psychological, regulatory, informal - to access and ownership. If we cast ourselves as practitioners who are trying to bring people together, he says; and create a deeper sense of togetherness and ownership over public spaces, then we need to take seriously that we’ve all inherited customs and structures and expectations formulated in large part by racism, white supremacy, patriarchy and other exclusive, oppressive paradigms.

As a placemaker, Robin sees how we also have a responsibility to understand our own individual positinality, identify, and how that colours our approach and philosophy to the work.

In collaboration with Placemaking Week Europe in Pontevedra.

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Keep Up the Good Work. Keep Loving Cities ❤️️

All opinions expressed in each episode are personal to the guest and do not represent the Host of Urbanistica Podcast unless otherwise stated.

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