The missing public domain in public spaces: A gendered historical perspective on a Latin American case

Hinojosa, K. H., & Moreno, C. E. A.

Hinojosa, K. H., & Moreno, C. E. A. (2016). The missing public domain in public spaces: A gendered historical perspective on a Latin American case. Urbani izziv, 27(2), 149–160.

gender issues , Monterrey , public domains , public spaces , social interaction

This article searches for public domains in the history of public spaces in Monterrey from the perspective of their colloquial use by different social groups. Through documentary analysis, it reconstructs the transition from publicly owned public spaces to their privatised counterparts. The article expands the traditional somewhat idyllic narrative of public spaces and offers clues to how different social groups have used them. Public spaces have changed during four main periods. A centralised public space appeared during the colonial period (1596–1810), followed by socially segregated spaces between the beginning of the war for independence until after the revolution (1810–1940). The dispersion of public space characterises the period of the metropolitan expansion of Monterrey (1940–1980). Finally, the privatisation of public spaces occurred at the turn of the millennium (1980–2015). Women, children and lower socioeconomic classes have had unequal access to public spaces in Latin America, thus precluding them from being considered public domains.

Main finding
The history of Monterrey's public domain is categorized by five historic periods, changing from centralization during the colonial period, to segregation by class, culture, and etiquette during a rise in the culture of consumption, to dispersion during Mexico's economic expansion and increasing class division, and finally to privatization as commercial destinations expanded. The authors argue that these historic exclusions by race, class, and gender mean that Monterrey's public spaces were never truly public domains. They also note that people have been increasingly likely to choose privately owned public spaces as their choice for socialization and recreation.

Description of method used in the article
The authors uses archival data to trace the history of the physical and social aspects of the public domain in Monterrey, Mexico.

Of some practical use if combined with other research

Organising categories

Archival / Historical
Physical types
Geographic locations