Ubuntu Park Is a Community-Organized Public Space

Without negotiations, there can be no agreement. The main question raised by the residents was whether Ubuntu Park would be a community space, which is what they desired, or a public space, about which they had reservations. How does the community protect itself against the public? The residents’ conditions ranged from fencing off and locking the space after dark to paying a security service to monitor the park. As far as they could tell, there weren’t many other choices. After numerous never-ending conversations where everyone had something to say, they considered marking off the territory with a symbolic barrier: a fence about a metre high; any option without a fence was no option at all. Through a slow process of discussion and reflection, the residents began to accept the fact that Ubuntu Park could never be exclusively a community space, protected and closed to outsiders, for the simple reason that people from other neighbourhoods pass through it all the time. In the end, they reached a ground-breaking consensus: Ubuntu Park would be a community-organized public space.

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