Shaping Future Cities: “FURNISH: New Methodologies to Intervene in Public Space” book presentation hosted in Barcelona

  • The unveiling of the book “FURNISH: New Methodologies to Intervene in Public Space” took place on 22 May at the headquarters of the Urban Ecology Department of the Barcelona City Council.
  • The event brought together a diverse audience, including public administration authorities, industry leaders, and academic stakeholders, to explore fresh perspectives on collaborative public space design and highlight innovative proposals revolutionising urban landscapes.
  • The FURNISH project was co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility

Drawing from over three years of immersive work within city communities, the book captures experiences and ideas that have emerged as part of the FURNISH project. This ground-breaking publication aims to redefine how public spaces are conceptualized, encouraging vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive urban environments that are developed with the collaboration of citizens.

This project was born after the lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, which increased awareness of the value of urban public spaces. The responsibility of avoiding crowded spaces, which represented a serious risk of resurgence of COVID-19 cases, raised the question of how cities can expand their public space and how we can design our cities safely. Consequently, the FURNISH project, co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility, aimed to collaboratively redesign public spaces to answer their current needs.

The FURNISH project aims to design, digitally fabricate, deploy, test and monitor urban elements to adapt temporary public spaces to meet the new challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 crisis. FURNISH aims to merge the challenge of gaining more public space through tactical urbanism, which can reconfigure a street to expand the area for pedestrians and leisure, with local digital manufacturing, to accelerate positive change on mobility to make urban spaces more liveable.

The 2021 edition of the project was inspired by the first edition’s success and hoped to foster strong relationships and emphasize the importance of reconnecting with the streets. Collaborations with schools proved fruitful, revealing communities with a remarkable inclination for co-creation. Working closely with children and teachers, the project not only produced impressive design prototypes but also became a social endeavour, amplifying voices that are often overlooked in the decision-making process and including them in the final 2022 edition of the project.

During the three editions of the programme, one of the notable achievements of the FURNISH project is the development of 12 prototypes of urban elements, each contributing to a unique aspect of public space design. These prototypes, marked by their open-source nature, can be replicated and adapted worldwide, allowing cities and communities around the globe to benefit from the project’s collective knowledge and insights.

Two core principles, co-design and co-manufacturing, have underpinned the project’s methodology. By involving various stakeholders and users in the design process, FURNISH has fostered a sense of ownership and inclusivity, ensuring that public spaces truly meet the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve. The resulting designs reflect a harmonious blend of creativity, functionality, and sustainability, setting new benchmarks for urban landscapes.

Furthermore, the social impact analysis conducted throughout the project has highlighted the transformative potential of inclusive public space design. By prioritizing community engagement and considering the broader social implications, FURNISH has laid the foundation for meaningful change in urban environments. The book presents a comprehensive overview of these analyses, reinforcing the project’s commitment to creating socially responsible urban spaces.

With the book “FURNISH: New Methodologies to Intervene in Public Space,” a new chapter in urban design has begun, embracing co-creation, open-source solutions, and social impact analysis.

More information about the FURNISH programme:

Partners involved in the project: Milan City Council, AMAT – Milan’s Agency for Mobility, Environment and Territory, CARNET, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia


(original article published by CARNET)