Public Space for All

Public space is a public good - for all city residents to access and enjoy, whether it is for leisure, transportation or earning a livelihood. However, competing uses of public space cause conflict, and often it is the most vulnerable users - informal workers - who are excluded. WIEGO believes struggles over public space should not be a zero sum game - instead, regulated public spaces offer possibilities for diverse uses to co-exist, ultimately making cities more vibrant and inclusive.

The Public Space for All project was launched in 2018 with the aim of supporting city officials, informal workers and other stakeholders in realizing the potential of inclusive public spaces. The project involved a series of public consultations in our five Focal Cities, and the creation of a set of resources, including a toolkit for city officials, a manual for street vendors and a discussion paper, with lessons for advocacy, urban planning and governance. The “Public Space for All” project was carried out in partnership with the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme (JWP) on Equitable Economic Growth in Cities. 

New Resources on Inclusive Management of Public Space

By expanding the knowledge of informal worker organizations, city governments and support organizations (including Cities Alliance members), we hope to inform decision-making by all of these groups in the management and regulation of public space. The cases presented in the resources below are drawn from the experience and knowledge of the WIEGO Network, and its member organizations of informal workers, as well as from the experience and knowledge of other members of Cities Alliance:

Public-Space-Discussion-PaperInclusive Public Spaces for Informal Livelihoods: A Discussion Paper for Urban Planners and Policy Makers - presents research findings and case materials that illustrate both the everyday struggles that the urban working poor face in securing access to public space to pursue their livelihoods and the management and governance challenge faced by city governments in regulating access to public space for competing uses and users. This paper makes the case that regulated access to public space for informal workers is a key pathway to inclusive cities and, thereby, to equitable economic growth; and that another key pathway is to enable informal workers to be represented in urban planning and governance processes. 

Public-Space-ToolkitSupporting Informal Workers in Public Space: A Toolkit for Local Authorities - aims to support local authorities in adopting an inclusive approach to managing public space that considers urban informal workers, with a specific focus on street vendors. The toolkit includes guidelines for authorities to build an evidence base for planning, principles for inclusive legislation and regulation, and recommendations for developing a participatory process to engage street vendors and community stakeholders in the process of designing, implementing and monitoring plans. Good practice examples from WIEGO’s network are integrated throughout the toolkit. 

Working-in-public-spaceWorking in public space: A manual for street vendors - is for individual street vendors and their organizations to use in reflecting on their contributions and challenges working in public space and to build their capacities to defend their livelihoods.