Challenges in managing public space: insights from public space management practice

Mozafar Said*, Barbara Tempels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Public spaces face long-term challenges, such as energy transition and climate adaptation, which involve a range of adaptations in the existing public spaces. Simultaneously, managers face short-term everyday challenges. This article explores how Dutch public space managers deal with short- and long-term challenges that affect the effectiveness of public space management. This qualitative study based on exploratory interviews with managers provides insight into the obstacles public space managers face in dealing with these long-term and short-term challenges. The study found four characteristics of the current practice: (1) the sectoral division between design and management, (2) the conflict-and-action approach, (3) the asset-based focus, and (4) the linear approach. Together, these characteristics prevent the current practice from effectively facing both long-term and short-term challenges. The findings provide a starting point to think about how public space management could be reorganized to ensure the quality and functionality of public space in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2023


  • challenges
  • process analysis
  • public space
  • public space management
  • use phase


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