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By : Christine Mady

Amidst the debates on the death or resurgence of public spaces emerges a significant question: how could public spaces that function at different urban scales and cater for diverse collective needs be provided? This article explores the roles and potentials of temporary public spaces in meeting diverse challenges related to the supply and use of urban open spaces. Positioning temporary public spaces within the literature on non-conventional public spaces is conducted with the purpose of identifying those spacesí characteristics. The proposed definition of temporary public spaces is based on their dynamic status of use-rights. Moreover, a conceptual framework based on urban land economics and bid rent theory is used to explain how such spaces transform under the exchange of temporary use-rights to activate vacant urban lots for public activities. This conceptual framework is applied in the case of a grass root approach to the supply of temporary public spaces. The context is Beirut, a city that has lost its public spaces due to wars and is trying to reintroduce them through different supply mechanisms. The examples illustrate how homogeneous urban spaces are identified over time and converted into heterogeneous and lively temporary public spaces. These contribute towards conviviality in a highly fragmented and multi-cultural society and animate everyday urban life.
Keywords : Temporary public space, vacant lots, conviviality, use-rights, Beirut.

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