OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Re-Appropration of Public Spaces

What if communities identified unsafe public spaces to re-appropriate them and transform them into safer ones? This is what a group of women in Argentina did in a square in the neighborhood Barrio Hipotecario.

Photo of Sarah Fathallah
5 19

Written by

Interesting quote by M. Rodigou, from CISCSA (part of the UNIFEM-supported program "Cities without Violence against Women, Safe Cities for All”).

“In a square in one of the neighbourhoods we walked through, one of the spaces that was identified by the women as making them feel unsafe was largely occupied by men who were consuming alcohol or drugs and where there was a lot of vandalism. In this space, we created a mural. Completed by the women themselves in a square in the neighbourhood Barrio Hipotecario, the mural carried the message: ‘More women in the street. ‘Cities safe for everyone without fear and without violence’. The images and the slogan were designed by the women, and were reproduced in a local arts and events newspaper with such features as festivals, games and dances, etc. Since then, no one has written anything on the mural, thus demonstrating respect for all of the work that the women did in the neighbourhood, and in the message it represents. Furthermore, boys and girls and adolescents have returned to occupy the space using it for games and meeting with friends.”

Rather than avoiding / antagonizing dangerous public spaces, how might we re-appropriate or "occupy" them in a way that makes them safer?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rachael Barrett

Was referred by fellow OpenIdeo contributor, Anne-Laure Fayard. Thanks for sharing. This is the kind of "simple" solution I think moves mountains or create safe spaces that can work.

Too add to your example, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a notoriously dangerous corner (high rates of drug/crime/gang usage) was deliberately "occupied" during the summer for the Green Market, run by youth and supported by City of New York. Crime dropped when market was open -- and did not spike when market was closed. Occupy for good.

Photo of Karolle Rabarison

Cool example with the Green Market!

Photo of Rachael Barrett

Check out Nupur Chaudhury's work at community solutions with the Brownsville Partnership, one of the brains behind the Green Market

Photo of Kairen P

Sarah what an amazing idea.... how much does it cost for one place ? also what do you think local government will allow such type of work ?

View all comments