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A space for the city, in the city

Our cities, our societies, and the planet we live on are all undergoing rapid transformations. The way we work, the way we move, the way we make and consume, the way we play and live -- all of this is being redefined as we speak. But this change is not simply a matter of technological or economic evolution. It is also, and perhaps above all, a matter of political and social choice. If we are to make the right choices, we need to collectively evaluate and improve the policies and practices that will shape our cities and societies in the future. This requires more common spaces for education, critique, discussion, and empowerment. This requires A Real Space.

A space for education

A Real Space is a space for education. Its aim is neither to tell visitors what to think nor to provide them with definitive answers. Its aim is rather to facilitate critical inquiry and catalyse informed debate about the future of our cities; to be a place where the public and the private, the local and the global, the radical and the conventional, the theoretical and the practical, can come together, learn, unlearn, and wrestle with how we want to live together in our cities. Our Urban Research Library aims to hold a mirror to this spirit in A Real Space. It includes a growing lending library of books, guides, reports, and studies.

A space for discussion

A Real Space is a space for discussion, debate, and interaction. We aim to facilitate dialogue, exchange, and collaboration between civic society and its institutions, between academia and the public, between experts and non-experts, between the young and the old, and between the local and the global. Our Half-Baked Discussion Series aims to engage the public in critical questioning and the production, across diversity, of shared declarations on pressing urban topics. It aims to smuggle new ideas, conversations, and the occasional conundrum into our everyday lives.

A space for empowerment

A Real Space is a space for empowerment. We want to facilitate and enable active citizenship, collective agency, and grassroots activism. We want to help foster a more inclusive and democratic city, in which everyone has a voice and is able to participate in shaping it. Our Digital Takeover programme invites digital, civically-minded communities to takeover A Real Space. It provides them with a place to coordinate, to build, to create, to experiment, and perhaps even share their ideas, work, and experiences with the broader public.

A space for critique

A Real Space is a space for critique. We are committed to reflecting on the problems and challenges of our cities, and to critically engaging with the issues that will shape them in the future. The Blue Ribbon Project, currently in development, exists in this spirit. Through workshops, it aims to engage practitioners, researchers, and students to, together, analyse the feasibility of municipal and institutional agendas. Its aim is to see what set of actions, in practice, need to be taken for those agendas to receive an elusive blue ribbon. Talk is, after all, cheap.

A space for play and community

A Real Space is also a playground of sorts, a space set apart from the structures of work and the rigours of everyday life, one where play and experimentation can blossom into new ways of thinking about, existing in, and building our cities. In between programming, we invite you to come and play: tinker with ideas, grab a book from the library, have a chat. We are actively improving the design of the space and will continue to do so as the project grows. Our hope is that A Real Space will become a community space in the truest sense of the word: a space for all of us.