Today, urban public spaces - especially public parks, open spaces and greenery - play a significant role in the provision of recreation and relaxation places for the urban residents in the core cities of Lao PDR such as Vientiane Captial, Luangprabang, Pakse and etc. However, in the past, the number and coverage ratio of public parks and open space has remained limited and less in those cities compared to population growth. The main reason is the understanding of local government and residents of the crucial role of public spaces and environmental conservation. On the other hand, they are focusing on economic activities. Therefore, many urban public spaces have been threatened by investors and development activities.
At present, the urban development master plan in Vientiane Capital has been prepared by Jica's study team together with its Lao counterpart. The consideration of the current situation as well as improvement policies of public spaces, particularly public parks and open spaces, have been included in this study. It is one example of how to integrate urban public space into master plans. Not only the local government of capital Vientiane capital is considering the improvement of urban public space, but also the local governments of other cities, especially Luangpraban - the world heritage city - are addressing these issues. As the result, many public parks and open spaces have been created and conserved. However, in order to achieve sustainable urban public space development, we have to conduct further research related to this issue. The demand analysis for using urban public space in Luanprabang is one of several interesting studies to determine the real situation of public space and its demand as well as participation of the local people in management of urban public space.
In order to improve urban public space in Lao PDR, first the basic meaning, role and function of the pubic space for Laos shall be considered and defined for proper design and use. Therefore, the presentation will give the definition and practical function of public space in Laos then followed by the current situation and basic policy for improvement of public space, particularly parks, open spaces and greenery in Vientiane capital and Luangprabang city.