Journal of the American Planning Association (2003)
This article discusses successful common grounds for children public settings that enable the harmonious intermingling of children of different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities and that encourage their social interchange, play, educational development, and collaboration. Our study focused on three types of public space that tend to bring these children together: the public school, the park, and the neighborhood community center. The research employed a variety of methods to study the interaction of children 9 to 12 years of age. Field work took place at four sites in West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and the San Fernando Valley that enjoy a high level of intermixing and have a reputation for promoting diversity. Subjects in the research included children, teachers, and administrators. The article highlights the findings of the field work and concludes with a comparative analysis of the different settings and a discussion of the environmental and programmatic attributes that contribute to their success.
This paper examines collaboration between artists and social scientists in urban studies. The author was a participant in experimental research commissioned by a new cultural institution, which examined how this institution might participate in the making of a public space. In this paper she analyses the methodologies of investigation and the discussions about forms and representations, and shows the difficulties and rewards of this type of collaboration. To what extent may research based on art and social sciences, and rooted in references to the methodologies and theories of both, be a relevant and alternative way to explore, investigate and represent an urban issue?
At the dawn of modernity, in the 18th century, space became a critical category in defining generational attributes and locations. However, borders that previously tightly isolated adults and children are nowadays continuously challenged and modified by a constant and ubiquitous use of new information and communication technologies, namely the Internet, blurring notions of ‘private’ and ‘public’, ‘outdoors’ and ‘indoors’, ‘real’ and ‘virtual’. Giving voice to children, this article explores qualitative empirical data from a research project carried out in Portugal. It focuses on children as subjects and actors of these processes, especially in the way they combine ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ space and place in a geography of their own.
The World Trade Center site allows anthropologists and educators to reflect on the relationship of public space to culture, and to consider the symbolic importance of this site for imagining the public culture of the future. Public spaces in the city have the potential of being places of learning and democratic practice, but the trend toward increased surveillance and policing of these spaces, exaggerated by September 11, makes this potential difficult to realize. Anthropologists and educators interested in the nexus of education, place, and culture should consider becoming involved in this imagining process and insert themselves into the ongoing debate in order to preserve spaces for learning and democracy.
Australia is currently rolling out one of the most expensive and ambitious infrastructure projects in the nation’s history. The National Broadband Network is promoted as a catalyst for far-reaching changes in Australia’s economy, governmental service provision, society and culture. However, it is evident that desired dividends, such as greater social engagement, enhanced cultural awareness and increased civic and political participation, do not flow automatically from mere technical connection to the network. This article argues that public institutions play a vital role in redistributing technological capacity to enable emerging forms of social and cultural participation. In particular, we examine public libraries as significant but often overlooked sites in the evolving dynamic between digital technology, new cultural practices and social relations. Drawing on interviews and fieldwork across the public library network of the state of Queensland, we attend to the strategies and approaches libraries are adopting in response to a digital culture.
Gary W. Evans, Brian Bresolin, Kendall J. Bryant, Tommy Gärling & Mary Anne Skorpanich
The results of this study indicate that manipulations of the pathway grid configuration and landmark placement in a setting cause changes in environmental knowledge. These experimental manipulations were accomplished using a realistic, dynamic simulation technique at the Berkeley Environmental Simulation Laboratory. Measures of environmental knowledge include: memory for incidental information along the simulated urban route, accuracy of route maps, relocation memory for scenes along the route, and questionnaire measures. Data are also presented showing both positive and negative effects of stress from noise on the processes of environmental cognition.
Models of urban planning after authoritarian modernism raise the question of democratic control over the city and the possibility of imagining as a collective act. The paper examines systemic hindrances to free-thinking, and thus free-acting, embedded in urban communities. Through the case study of recent work by the art collective Department of Play, it illustrates the rationale for engaging public imagination specifically via play as world-building; and it posits the potential implications and limits of such activity as an intervention into city planning processes. Interested in liminal spaces between territory, language and social affiliation, the collective advances an agenda of productive dissent in public space through play and performance. Department of Play begins from the position that we can only plan that which we imagine, and thus exists as an effort to free the public imagination from modes of thinking dictated by the capitalist context.