The list of what we can’t do in public spaces is outpacing what we can do. In light of this the collaboration between Blueprint magazine and the Manifesto Club is welcome as it attempts to answer Mayor Johnson’s ‘Great Spaces‘ initiative. Blueprint Magazine would like to see all the ‘rules and regulations’ removed and the Manifesto Club would like a removal of bans on alcohol (part of their ongoing ‘Booze Campaign‘).
The New Statesman article covering the above’s 48 hour test of public spaces shows why there needs to be a thorough review of how public space is regulated. The example of the police officers, happily accepting lager drunk from a tea cup rather than a can – otherwise they would confiscate it – makes a mockery of the inane regulations. It also points to a policy of self-regulation being the correct way that the public should govern the public spaces they enter. The control of the public realm needs to be wrested back from the politicians who are using it as a vote-winning policy fairground, appeasing this or that section of society to gain popularity.
Common sense, both from the public and the police, is the attitude that used to be pervasive in society. Unfortunately the politicians have sought to absolve us of relying on our own intelligence. For many this now means we are treated like children, assumed to be likely to act in a fashion similar to the very transgressors that regulations and rules are promoted to deal with. It’s time to fight back, emancipating public space and ourselves at the same time.