Public spaces, such as streets, squares, gardens, civic facilities and cultural and sports centres, are places where encounters occur, where people meet familiar and unfamiliar faces alike, and where neighbours of all ages and social statuses come into contact with each other. They are, thus, spaces for co-existence.

The town or city council is responsible for the maintenance of public spaces (repairing damage or replacing worn street furniture, for example), but it is up to all citizens to look after them as if they were their own home, albeit a home that they share with everybody else.

It is therefore necessary to observe the following rules:

  • Avoid activities that spoil public spaces, or which could disturb or cause problems for your neighbours (noise, blocking streets).

  • Take care with and respect public furniture.

  • Do not write or draw on walls or other objects.

  • Only put up posters or advertising material in spaces intended for that purpose.

  • Make use of litter bins.

  • Pick up any droppings left by your pets.

  • Avoid leaving rubbish outside containers.

  • It is forbidden to make bets involving money or goods in streets or in public spaces.

  • Begging may not involve subjecting passers-by to pressure or insistent or coercive demands, or disturb them in any way.

  • Public furniture (litter bins, containers, benches, telephone booths, etc.) is a basic and highly necessary service for all citizens, and one which everyone pays for jointly. It is thus important to use it properly and to inform your town or city council of any damage to it.

If public spaces are not looked after, it costs the authorities more to clean and maintain them. Such expenses reduce the amount of money available for other areas, such as education, social services, health, etc.

In the case of certain individual or group activities (celebrations, fairs, etc.) that involve blocking the street at particular times, it is important to be aware of the applicable municipal bylaws and to ask for permission from the town or city council. Where economic activities are concerned (involving a stall or playing music in the street, for example), it is necessary to obtain the corresponding municipal permit.

Failure to follow the rules of public-spiritedness and co-existence may be punished with economic penalties in the form of fines (multes). The authorities may also make you responsible for repairing any damage you cause (for example, anyone who damages a litter bin or a road sign will have to pay for it). Penalties may take the form of alternative measures (mesures substitutòries), such as community work (maintaining a public space, working with a social organisation, taking part in courses on public-spiritedness, etc.).