Race, Place, and Public Space

Burnside Park, Providence, RI
  1. Diverse Programming — People of color must be centrally involved in the planning of the site, as well as its long-term programming. This applies to both festivals and one-off events. Many notable parks and public spaces around the country tailor their programming heavily toward younger, white audiences. This doesn’t have to be the case here. Programming of a space should reflect the diversity of its populace. Moreover, Black-owned businesses should be represented on lists of vendors, contractors, and suppliers for public events.
  2. Keep Events Affordable — The median income for Black households in Rochester is $23,200, compared to $38,800 for white households. Hispanic households in Rochester average $22,600. We must ensure that events are accessible to lower-income families, especially those in Black and Brown communities, by offering a range of free and low-cost concerts, festivals, and family activities, subsidized through private partnerships.
  3. Embrace Cultural Heritage — Rochester is a city with a rich cultural tradition. A public space should highlight that history, which is why I believe the space should be called Douglass Commons (as opposed to, say, Golisano Green or Midtown Square). Rochester’s cultural history should be deeply embedded in the art, design, and programming of the space.
Campus Martius, Detroit, MI

Co-Director, ROCitizen

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Ravi Mangla

Ravi Mangla

Co-Director, ROCitizen

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