BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces by Hadley Dyer, illustrated by Marc Ngui

Watch This SpaceComing from a family of urban planners and architects (Pops was head of urban planning graduate department at major university, baby bro is mega-award winning architect and professor at Harvard’s GSD, middle bro used to make all his ex-girlfriend’s architecture models when he got tired of computers – shhhh!) made me appreciate this lively, sassy, youth-empowering new title oh so much!

“You don’t have to buy something or pay an entry fee to be in a public space. You don’t need to be a member or explain why you’re there. Public spaces exist so everyone can use them. All you have to do is show up.” Could it be any more simple? And these public spaces need to be protected, especially for youth who need a place to just … “hang out.”

Author Hadley Dyer explains how “teens don’t have private places to call their own.” At home, parents make the decisions about who comes over, what kids can do. At school, teachers rule. But in public spaces, kids can be together to just do nothing. “Yet something is happening when you spend time in public spaces,” Dyer insists. “You’re figuring out how to get along with people, without adult interference. You’re sorting out who you are and how you fit in. You’re becoming part of a community.”

With Dyer’s chatty, welcoming narrative and Marc Ngui‘s entertaining drawings and layouts, Watch This Space covers the earliest public forums to the latest virtual social spaces,  to sharing public spaces with everyone of all ages and backgrounds (not just your friends), to ultimately designing your own great public space.

Along the way, you’ll learn some fabulously fun facts … like why agoraphobia means a fear of public or open spaces, why we’re still watching gory gladiator deaths, what the Serengeti and Old Quebec’s Historic District have in common, how you can take walking tours of major cities without even leaving your desk, why suburbs are more dangerous than crowded cities, the #1 killer of under-18s, what you might expect to pay if you get caught smuggling gum into Singapore, why the no jyuku sha community in Osaka, Japan prefers the great outdoors, where the largest skateboarding park can be found, and just so much more, more, more.

The book debuts next week. Order a copy, then go to your favorite public space and share that copy with lots of others … if you don’t use it, you could lose it!

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2010


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