Book Review | The Politics of Public Space: Volume Five

The Politics of Public Space: Volume Five captures interviews and talks by built environment practitioners from the past five years. Collated and Edited by OFFICE, a non-profit research-based practice in Melbourne, Australia. The publication seeks to identify the true complexities of cities and their various stakeholders and users.

The majority of the publication is centred on the issues facing Melbourne, often noted as the world’s most liveable city. The various talks and presentations in the publication address a myriad of issues faced by Melbourne and many other cities, such as the redevelopment of the public realm using “tactics to inclusion and exclusion” [1] of various users, how to address designing on unceded lands, redevelopment of buildings and public realm for private use and many other topics that cities and its designers are trying to address through consultation and inclusion sensitively.

When reading this publication, I had the sudden realisation that many of the issues we faced pre-COVID, when many of these presentations and interviews were recorded, are still with us today. Many cities have moved on in a post-COVID world by trying to reinvigorate their city centres, but there is still a need to address the many issues we face before COVID. The publication also includes interviews and presentations from 2020-2023 that provide insights into what designers were thinking during periods of COVID lockdown. Later sections of the publication include more recent presentations that discuss the public space, digital space, the impact of new rail infrastructure, and the upcoming 2032 Olympics on Woolloongabba (a suburb of Brisbane, Australia).

Overall, the publication provides insights and discourse into the politics and design of the public realm in Australia. It is a unique publication, as the presentations were held on the topic site, thus allowing the presenter and audience to openly discuss the issues whilst in the space. I hope this type of discourse and debate can continue in Melbourne and inspire other design professionals to undertake similar (in situ) discussions.

The book is available on the OFFICE website with pickup or deliveries.

The Politics of Public Space: Volume Five features
Mark Jacques, Libby Porter, Tania Davidge, Tom Andrews, Peter Chambers, Claire Martin, Myria Georgiou, Saskia Sassen, Jack Self, Brooke Holmes, Ian Strange, Alfredo Billembourg, Tony Birch, Brighid Sammon, Nicole Kalms, Andy Fergus, Kate Shaw, Philip Brophy, Sarah Lynn Rees, Kim Dovey, Nigel Bertram, Lynda Roberts, Crystal Legacy, Marcus Westbury, Elizabeth Taylor, Simona Castricum, Jock Gilbert, Sophia Pearce, Uncle Dave Wandin, Gary Foley, Alison Young, Polly Stanton, Kelsie Nabben, Wendy Steele, Lily Parsons, Olivia Daw, Genevieve Quinn, Lewis Orgar, Carroll Go-Sam.

Editor – OFFICE and Tom Muratore
Copy Editor – Miriam McGarry
Book Design -Jake Bonin and Kim Mumm Hansen

The Politics of Public Space: Volume Five published by not-for-profit design and research practice OFFICE.

Book Review and Images by Damian Holmes, Editor of World Landscape Architecture

About Damian Holmes 3288 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at