Public space is generally understood as an arena to which everyone has access and can express themselves, a place that everyone can use. But are different forms of urban public spaces truly democratic? If they are not, what are democratic and inclusive public spaces, and how can they be governed and designed? These questions motivate the research project DEMOSSPACE, which addresses the democratic dimensions of urban public spaces.

In DEMOSSPACE, researchers from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England and the US collaborate in the study, which objective is to enquire how new governance models and urban design can secure inclusive and democratic public spaces. We are particularly interested in how the new practice of private provision influences the quality of public space. To provide in-depth knowledge about these dimensions of public space, its design and governance, we use the lenses of law, political science, architecture, criminology and human geography.

The Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) at the Oslo and Akershus University College (HiOA) coordinates the project, in close cooperation with the Institute for Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The City of Oslo is user-partner. The international partners are University College London, Copenhagen University, Malmö University, and Syracuse University.


The Norwegian Research Council, through their DEMOS programme, finance the project, which is carried out between April 2016 and March 2019.