The production of private space and its implications for urban social relations

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2008 Kirby, Andrew / Political Geography, 27 (74-95)

The paper focuses on what has been termed the privatization of urban public space and the negative consequences attributed to this transformation. The first part examines this dichotomy between public and private space and finds it to be more apparent than real, insofar as it is difficult to claim a sharp conceptual distinction between the two; moreover, the social benefits of public space are shown to be overdrawn, while those of private space are shown to be commonly overlooked. Having begun to dismantle the dichotomy, the second part of the paper discusses the public-private spaces in a rapidly growing metropolitan area in the Southwestern US and explores their implications for social relations. Given that these newer spaces are less different than is sometimes claimed, it is not surprising that they display some familiar forms of social interaction.