Résumé en français

As the world urbanises in unprecedented ways, urban living will no longer be a spectacle but an everyday reality for the majority of the world population. The typical conception of urban open spaces might not hold, hence the useful urban open space concept. The usefulness of urban open spaces transcends the health and well-being of urban citizens, now and in the future. While research and practice have focused on values such as recreation, and relaxation, among others, new paradigms of engagement are emerging.

We now need to look at the new roles played by these spaces through the lenses of multifunctionality, climate resilience, urban agriculture and food security, aesthetics and cultural expression, technology, and democracy. As landscape architects, we should collaborate with communities to draw on resident resources to plan and manage the urban green fabric to meet the emerging multiple needs contextually and in a timely manner.

The papers in this issue underscore the power of community involvement in shaping the green fabric for sustainability. This recurring theme highlights the crucial role that communities play in the success of urban open space interventions.

Arieff examines the evolving usefulness of two regional parks in Cape Town, showing the potential for interventions that promote biodiversity, food resilience, and responsiveness to the local context. Using the case of the Bombay Archipelago, India, Devyani focuses on repurposing heritage fort precincts as direly needed urban open spaces.

Oberholzer and van Papendorp showcase how landscape architects can push the boundaries of innovation in the design of urban open spaces. Their examples, drawn from cities beyond Cape Town, and demonstrate the potential for creative solutions to emerging issues.

Ouma et al. review of the IFLA World Congress, the IFLA Africa 8th Symposium, and the Architectural Association of Kenya Convention 2023 emphasises the theme of Emergent Interaction. They underscore the significance of cross-boundary and transdisciplinary thinking, inviting all stakeholders to contribute to solutions for intractable problems facing communities globally.

The Dasuda Foundation presents a case of Msimbazi River Basin City Park in Dar es Salaam, where, through interdisciplinary engagement, besides solving flooding issues, they were able to meet multiple requirements, including biodiversity restoration and building connectivity. Breed and du Plessis, through a case of Tshwane, South Africa, highlight how the challenges of planning and management of green infrastructure can be overcome by involving the community in the whole spectrum of planning and management of the urban green fabric.

In a second paper, Breed et al. show how landscape architects and their professional associations have a role to play by altering their ethics to support sustainable interventions towards managing climate change and building other benefits drawn from the urban green fabric. Akibo concludes this set of papers by presenting a pertinent but neglected issue of women's safety and inclusion in urban open spaces. The issue has not been canvassed widely in Africa. Using the case of Tinubu Square in Lagos, Nigeria, she proposes a responsive rethink of interventions, not in infrastructure, but in innovative and ideological changes to enhance the safety and inclusivity of women in our urban open spaces.