With the increasing frequency of heatwaves in the Netherlands, citizens will be forced to seek summer comfort indoors with air-conditioning. This future is not affordable for everyone and ultimately unsustainable. What if public space facilitated comfort during heatwaves?

Through an ethnographic study with research product Urbicamp, my team (Piet de Koning, Tjeu van Bussel) and I explored the proto-practices of a future where urban twenty-somethings reprogram the public space as a living space. We explained how public space plays a role in facilitating both physical and social comfort for living, in order to design a future that provides sustainable summer comfort for all. Finding comfort in public places is a diffused practice in which concepts of comfort, cleanliness, convenience and privacy are interrelated. We determined a range of practices arising from the appropriation of public space, related to comfort, community, the city and climate change, and argue that these are beneficial to the city which is currently hostile to living in public space.