Public spaces have a range of roles to play in a town or city. They are places where many things can happen: exchanges, meetings, even conflicts. They are an ideal setting for recreation and sport, as well as for cultural and social events, and for simple relaxation. They are open spaces, often embellished with planting and water, helping to maintain a balanced urban environment, with all the benefits that can bring for the wellbeing of the citizenry.
Public spaces should be evenly distributed across every neighbourhood of the city. If mixed use in public spaces is achieved, it can be an important tool in combating social segregation. A long-term approach to planning, an equitable geographical spread, proper development and regular maintenance will allow local authorities to spread their financial burden over a longer period.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.