1. Respect the right of everyone to enjoy the public space.
2. Do not impinge on the ability of anyone from enjoying the public space.
These two guarantee that everyone can be present in the public arena and enjoy it, as long as they do not bother others from doing the same. What is required then is a list of things that are considered to be disruptive in the enjoyment of all. Once you have the list, an enforcement measure can be implemented to see to it that suitable penalization and disincentives for breaking those requirements are exercised. The list of disruptions would need to take into account of all our five senses. It would also need to take into account for the presence of the most vulnerable and sensitive in our society. And it would need to ensure that the public space is a representation and reflection of the cultural expression of the inhabitants. From a personal point of view, such a list would look as follows.
1. Sight: The public space must be neat, without uncommisioned artwork such as personal graffiti, and it must be aesthetically pleasing to all ages and groups.
2. Smell/Taste - The public space must have good odor (or an absence of bad odor), by keeping it clear of garbage and waste. It must keep the area free from foul-smell, whatever the source may be.
3. Hearing - The public space must not have offensive noise, music or loud speech.
4. Touch - The public space must be clean to the touch and without tactile danger.
5. Age/Safety/Enhanced need - The public space must be accessible to children and the elderly. It must have available access for special needs and people with sensitive conditions.
6. Culture - The public space must be a representation of the local people, serving as a public artistic and societal expression that should be respected and protected.
These are all sensible suggestions upheld in many civilized societies, but it appears that many citizens have also tended to be frequently ambivalent to this basic need. I need not elaborate on this as I'm sure many have witnessed behaviors contrary to the stated rules. But surely, a high quality public space is worth investing in, as it benefits all. It should be possible for us to do more to protect them and to enhance the public experience. The shared space should not be a place where everyone feels entitled to do whatever they want. They need to be protected by the people for the enjoyment of ALL the people.
Judge the tree by its fruits. But remember to...
Wash the beam out of your eye with soap.