Daniel Tumminelli O’Brien, Robert J. Sampson & Christopher Winship
The collection of large-scale administrative records in electronic form by many cities provides a new opportunity for the measurement and longitudinal tracking of neighborhood characteristics, but one that will require novel methodologies that convert such data into research-relevant measures. The authors illustrate these challenges by developing measures of “broken windows” from Boston’s constituent relationship management (CRM) system (aka 311 hotline). A 16-month archive of the CRM database contains more than 300,000 address-based requests for city services, many of which reference physical incivilities (e.g., graffiti removal). The authors carry out three ecometric analyses, each building on the previous one. Analysis 1 examines the content of the measure, identifying 28 items that constitute two independent constructs, private neglect and public denigration. Analysis 2 assesses the validity of the measure by using investigator-initiated neighborhood audits to examine the “civic response rate” across neighborhoods. Indicators of civic response were then extracted from the CRM database so that measurement adjustments could be automated. These adjustments were calibrated against measures of litter from the objective audits. Analysis 3 examines the reliability of the composite measure of physical disorder at different spatiotemporal windows, finding that census tracts can be measured at two-month intervals and census block groups at six-month intervals. The final measures are highly detailed, can be tracked longitudinally, and are virtually costless. This framework thus provides an example of how new forms of large-scale administrative data can yield ecometric measurement for urban science while illustrating the methodological challenges that must be addressed.
The resurgence of informal street trading poses serious challenges for local officials responsible for the maintenance of public space. This article contextualises the tension between public space recuperation and informality, providing a detailed case study of Bogotá, Colombia (population 7.6 million). From 1988 to 2003, Bogotá's mayors implemented one of the most ambitious public space campaigns in Latin America. The 'tipping-points' behind Bogotá's transition are illuminated with emphasis on the introduction of free mayoral elections and the enervation of informal vendor unions. Using a cohort panel design, this research also examines the working conditions and occupational hazards faced by vendors both before and after relocation to government-built markets. It reveals how formalised vendors experienced declining income levels, but improved working conditions. The final section examines public policy implications and the extent to which Bogotá's experience follows traditional models of public space planning in Latin America and the Caribbean.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH (2015)
The socio-legal technology of licensing is one of the primary tools governments use to manage spaces and practices deemed risky or threatening to public order. Licensing requirements thus play a crucial role in shaping routine experiences in public space as well as the trajectories of emerging forms of public life. Yet licensing laws have largely been ignored in critical urban scholarship: too often concerned with the interpretation and critique of popular practices and public spaces, the mundane operations of urban governance are often left to practitioners and policy researchers. This article demonstrates how paying closer attention to licensure can provide valuable and unexpected insights into matters of social equality, urban amenity and economic opportunity. It does so through a comparative inquiry into practices of street food vending in New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. Drawing on ethnographic study and interviews, the article demonstrates how licensing can be involved in the production of quite peculiar and unjust geographies of practice, but also how shifts in popular culture can force a reconsideration of taken-for- granted laws. In conclusion, it is argued that a focus on licensing offers a productive pathway for new forms of critical urban research and provides a potential point of leverage in efforts to configure better and more democratic forms of urban public life.
The article focuses on the relationship between street vendors and local authorities in Bangkok. We examine the goals, the means, and the effects of everyday regulation of street vending. We document how the district administration produces and maintains informality by creating a parallel set of rules where street vendors enjoy negligible rents and little competition. We provide detailed empirical evidence on earnings, rents, fines, and rules regarding commercial real estate. The district administration’s policy of “managed informality” results in a situation where more established informal vendors control less established ones. We hypothesize in the conclusion that the district administration’s parallel legal system adjusts to the population’s expectations in a political system where the law has little popular support.
This article focuses on the dynamics between migrant street vendors and public security forces and the complex social production of urban public space in Guangzhou. As an answer to daily contestation of public order, security agencies reluctantly open flexible windows of business opportunities to hawkers. Zones and periods of control, ‘soft’ approaches, and categories of ethnic belonging influence everyday governance and accessibility of public space. This results in a transient public space, fluid and continuously changing, which offers a new perspective on openness and functioning of public space in urban China.
Sharon Zukin, Peter Frase, Danielle Jackson, Tim Recuber, Valerie Trujillo & Abraham Walker
Since the 1970s, certain types of upscale restaurants, cafés, and stores have emerged as highly visible signs of gentrification in cities all over the world. Taking Harlem and Williamsburg as field sites, we explore the role of these new stores and services (“boutiques”) as agents of change in New York City through data on changing composition of retail and services, interviews with new store owners, and discursive analysis of print media. Since the 1990s, the share of boutiques, including those owned by small local chains, has dramatically increased, while the share of corporate capital (large chain stores) has increased somewhat, and the share of traditional local stores and services has greatly declined. The media, state, and quasi-public organizations all value boutiques, which they see as symbols and agents of revitalization. Meanwhile, new retail investors—many, in Harlem, from the new black middle class—are actively changing the social class and ethnic character of the neighborhoods. Despite owners’ responsiveness to community identity and racial solidarity, “boutiquing” calls attention to displacement of local retail stores and services on which long-term, lower class residents rely and to the state’s failure to take responsibility for their retention, especially in a time of economic crisis.
The ‘problem’ of skating has been conflated with a ‘problem’ with young people in public spaces, reflecting a rise in fear of crime from the mid-twentieth century and referencing more general questions about public space and citizenship. My task in this paper is to highlight some of the tensions between skating and urban governance in Franklin Square, Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania in Australia. This task is indebted to ideas about governance and citizenship advanced by Nikolas Rose; about the proper city as conceived by Michel de Certeau; and about fortress strategies and species of spaces promulgated by Stephen Flusty. Franklin Square functions in two ways in this work. First, its examination encourages consideration of local cases. Second, it can be deployed as a heuristic device through which to explore the edges of public space and citizenship. The essay is intended to make two contributions to social and cultural geography, one enlarging on some well-rehearsed debates about situated and contested socio-spatial relations in what I hope are innovative ways, the other unsettling particular strategies that place skaters ‘on the edge’ and yet draw them into particular domains of citizenship via specific practices of urban governance.
Planning issues for urban waterfront Redevelopment projects are examined in this paper, based upon case studies in New York, London, Boston and Toronto. The research programme was based upon over 100 interviews with key actors in the four cities. The paper is oriented towards practical problems in the implementation of planning. It generally considers the perspective of the redevelopment agency to consider waterfront planning and development techniques. The specific issues which are addressed include changing the waterfront's image, improving accessibility and controlling the quality of the physical environment. An incremental approach to implementation is recommended, with emphasis upon controlling the quality of the public realm and the role of urban design guidelines to guide private development.
In this article, I explore how the festive culture of mulids, Egyptian Muslim saints-day festivals, troubles notions of habitus, public space, and religious and civic discipline that have become hegemonic in Egypt in the past century and how state actors attempt to “civilize” mulids by subjecting them to a spectacular, representative order of spatial differentiation. I argue that habitus must be understood as a political category related to competing relationships of ideology and
embodiment and that the conceptual and physical configuration of modern public space is intimately related to the bodily and moral discipline of its users.
Journal of the American Institute of Planners (1978)
James S. Lemonides & April L. Young
Problems encountered in public open space provision in the urban context are investigated through a case study of the Chicago metropolitan region. Correlation and regression analyses are utilized in an attempt to explain local public open space acreage levels in terms of readily available data. Park district directors, chief municipal executives, forest preserve and conservation district directors are surveyed and interviewed in order to gain more qualitative insights. Governmental regulations in general and funding allocation practices for the region are examined for any effect on provision levels. Basic impediments to public open land provision are identified, and several solution strategies are suggested.
Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society (2014)
In the wake of the global recession, publicly funded urban development projects have reshaped Romania’s cities while transforming local governance practices. This study examines an emergent form of urban governance that is driven by the pursuit of EU and government funding and centres on large-scale spatial restructuring. During a time of severe economic decline, this form of local governance has brought about uneven development through a dramatic increase in redundant public works and urban beautification projects that serve neither the public need nor the EU’s development agenda. Seized by political patronage networks through selective and discretionary allocations of EU and public funds, public works projects have become vehicles for the extraction of public funds.
Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (2005)
Akkar, Z. M.
The proliferation of alluring, distinctive and exclusive public spaces in many postindustrial cities raises the question of how far these environments are truly "public." Focusing on this question, this article explores the changing "publicness" of a recently redeveloped space in the city center of Newcastle upon Tyne, Britain, in relation to the dimensions of access, actor and interest. It further seeks to underline two emerging trends: the blurring of distinction between public and private spaces in the public realms of postindustrial cities; and the threat posed by image-led regeneration strategies to the everyday needs of and the civic functioning of genuine public spaces.
This paper emerges from an ethnography of the economic and cultural life of Rye Lane, an intensely multi-ethnic street in Peckham, South London. The effects of accelerated migration into London are explored through the reshaping and diversification of its interior, street and city spaces. A ‘trans-ethnography’ is pursued across the compendium of micro-, meso- and macro-urban spaces, without reifying one above the other. The ethnographic stretch across intimate, collective and symbolic city spaces serves to connect how the restrictions and circuits of urban migration have different impacts and expressions in these distinctive but interrelated urban localities. The paper argues for a trans-ethnography that engages within and across a compendium of urban localities, to understand how accelerated migration and urban ‘super-diversity’ transform the contemporary global city.
Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability (2011)
Kevin M. Leyden, Robert D. Duval & Abraham Goldberg
Using surveys collected from 10 major metropolitan cities across the world, this article examines the factors that affect the extent to which people feel connected to others who live in their neighborhood and feel proud and satisfied with life in their cities. The cities included in the analysis are: New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Toronto, Milan, Berlin, Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. We find that certain aspects of the built environment, the conditions of the public sphere, and the extent of positive social networks in the city are critically important for understanding residents’ connections to each other and to their cities. Our findings provide insights for policy makers and planners concerned with making cities viable and livable.
In the US and western Europe, mixing policies are widespread. They aim to differentiate various income-groups in deprived neighbourhoods. By constructing 'expensive' housing units, the middle classes are encouraged to settle in these neighbourhoods and consequently a concentration of low-income-groups is circumscribed. Such a new population composition is assumed to lead to an improved quality of life in the neighbourhood concerned. However, insufficient attention is paid to ethnicity and interethnic dynamics; these aspects will be elaborated on in two case studies of deprived and ethnically differentiated neighbourhoods in Amsterdam. Furthermore, this paper will also explore the impact of ethnic differences and perceptions on the social contacts and interactions between various ethnic groups of residents.
Ana Viseu, Jane Aspinall, Andrew Clement & Tracy L. M. Kennedy
The creation of public internet access facilities is one of the principal policy instruments adopted by governments in addressing ‘digital divide’ issues. The lack of plans for ongoing funding, in North America at least, suggests that this mode is regarded mainly as transitional, with private, home-based access being perceived as superior. The assumption apparently is that as domestic internet penetration rates rise, public access facilities will no longer be needed. Central to this issue are the varied characteristics of publicly provided and privately owned access sites and their implications for non-employment internet activities. What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two access modes? More fundamentally, how do people conceptualize public and private spaces and how does this perception influence their online activities? Finally, why do people choose one over the other, and how do they navigate between the two? This article attempts to answer these questions by drawing on data generated within the Everyday Internet Project, a ‘neighborhood ethnography’ of internet usage. It argues that the conventional view of private and public access facilities as immiscible, fixed alternatives is inadequate. Rather than ‘pure’ types, they are better understood as offering hybrid spaces whose identity and character are fluid, perceived differently by individuals in light of the activities being performed, life experiences, infrastructure and architecture. The picture emerging from our study is one where public and private access modes intertwine with each other in a variety of ways, their combination offering significant additional value for many users. From a public policy perspective, these findings suggest that if universal access is to be achieved, there is a continuing need for publicly supported broad-spectrum facilities with integrated technical support and learning opportunities, even if domestic penetration rates approach that of the telephone.
The development of downtown public space has been increasingly defined by agreements negotiated between the public and private sectors. In the last decades the majority of downtown public space has occurred in the form of urban plazas, built as integral parts of privately owned office and retail complexes. In this paper we document the private production of public open space in the downtown areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco - two cities that have used distinctively different policy approaches in forming public-private partnerships. We examine how the process of public open space creation is affected by the culture of planning and development, and discuss similarities and differences in the imagery and form of plazas in the two cities. It is found that urban plazas are the reflection of a market-driven urbanism. As such they are quite homoge- neous in their form despite differences in the planning style and development process encountered in the two California cities.
Within the International debates about the roles and relevance of planning and architecture, urban design is trying to find its place and clarify its contribution to city making. The products and the practice of urban design vary significantly in different global and socio-economic contexts and in relation to varying theoretical foundations. In South Africa, as in other developing countries, urban design is only beginning to feature as a valid mainstream concern within city development and among built environment practitioners. This paper presents the case of the City of Cape Town’s Dignified Places Programme as an example of implementation-focused urban design undertaken in a context where the conscious design and management of the public realm does not feature on the agendas of cash-strapped, basic needs-focused local government. The design and construction of new public spaces is the focus of this programme, but a parallel objective is to place the central concern of urban design – the quality of the public environment – squarely on the agenda of local government in Cape Town. The paper outlines the urban context in which it is being implemented sketches the issues that prompted its initiation and traces its theoretical origins focusing on the linkages between this theory and practice. The paper gives an account of the origins, objectives and strategy as well as the design principles that directed the form and location of the projects in the Programme. The paper finally reflects on the key successes and challenges of the programme and attempts to tease out lessons for both the theory and practice of urban design.