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Gender, Place & Culture (2001)
Fear in public spaces negatively impacts women’s lives. Even when danger is low, the idea of women as endangered in public space endures—due, in part, to its centrality in the construction of gender identity for men and women. In this article, the author examines the construction of contemporary, masculine gender identities and men’s perceptions of women as fearful and endangered in public space. Through interviews with 82 male students in Irvine, California, USA, the author examines how men’s construction of masculine identities builds upon perceptions of women as fearful and endangered in Irvine public spaces. Though they regard Irvine as safe, men see women as vulnerable there. The author investigates this apparent inconsistency in light of men’s performances of two masculine identities—the youthful ‘badass’ and the chivalrous man—which depend for their construction on opposition with women as fearful. Recommendations include suggestions for continued research on the spatial construction of masculine identities.
Journal of Urban Design (1999)
Urban design scholars denounce the recent trend towards the privatization of US public space. Critics emphasize the negative consequences of privatized public space, tied to private ownership, an emphasis on consumption, leisure and security, a targeted audience, and controlled behaviour and design. Yet these key qualities of privatized public spaces have meaning only in the context of one's identity. The same qualities shape experiences of privatized public spaces that can be understood as constrained, as constraining or as a form of resistance, depending on one's gender, race, class and sexuality. This paper challenges the prevailing design critique by examining women's experience of privatized public spaces, drawing on interviews with 43 middle- class women and behavioural mapping in five privatized public spaces in Orange County, California. Recommendations address changes to research and practice to better reflect and accommodate diverse experiences of public space.
This paper explores the place-based meanings of an urban public space, MacArthur Park, in a Latino and immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. Both quantitative and qualitative data analysis revealed a broad range of park experiences that were both positive and negative and produced meanings that were individual, social, cultural, and political. The study found that MacArthur Park affirms traditional national, cultural, and ethnic identities for immigrants and supports their construction of a new, translocal and Central American identity in Los Angeles. Although the study found that the park also serves as a restorative, entertaining, and social space for park goers, these positive experiences were accompanied by negative experiences and meanings of the park related to maintenance and crime and conflicts associated with inequality and access, confirming the importance of considering the full range of social, cultural, and political meanings associated with place.
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development (2006)
Privatized public space reflects a current moment in the ongoing negotiation of the relationship between the state and the market that is a central concern of liberalism. The configuration of this relationship has consequences for the nature of citizenship and democracy in theory and practice. Emblematic of a shift to the privatization of urban public space, California Plaza provides a case by which to examine the multiscalar interests and machinations of the neoliberal state in practice. Exploring the meanings of public and private that are produced by a corporate plaza enables an assessment of how privatized public space helps constitute contemporary citizenship. Institutional and legal frameworks serve as a foundation for the relative publicness of the corporate plaza. Techniques of exclusion and control through design features and security measures exclude errant bodies and regulate the seamlessness of the desired public. At the same time, counter practices indicate the emergence of spaces and subjects that destabilize presumed notions of public and private.
Children, Youth and Environments (2006)
Results from an inner-city teen focus group on parks and urban green space in Los Angeles, California and responses to parallel questions posed to adults from the same area show striking differences. While adults focused on activities and cited a need for additional recreation-oriented parks for teens, teenagers themselves focused on greened spaces suitable for socializing and relaxing. Teens were also keenly interested in local parks, aware of maintenance issues, and concerned about personal safety.
Urban Studies Journal Foundation (2014)
Recent case studies of receiving communities have established that translocal immigrants are transforming their neighbourhoods, producing spaces of identity. While these studies have focused on the reshaping of local power dynamics, less attention has been given to the spaces, themselves, and the qualities that influence identity. This study utilises place identity literature, from environmental psychology, to explore the remaking of MacArthur Park, a public space at the centre of a Mexican and Central American immigrant community in Los Angeles, California. We find that new ‘place identities’ are influenced by the specific physical, social, and cultural elements of the park, as study participants attempt to maintain identities influenced by important places in their sending communities. The result is a park that has emotional significance for participants, significance that leads to agency – everyday and political practices – to protect the park, sometimes in the face of immense challenges.
Journal of Planning Education and Research (1993)
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.
PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review (2000)
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2003)
Existing research typically examines fear in public space from women’s perspectives. To date, environment–behavior researchers have largely overlooked men’s fear in public space, and the role of masculinity in shaping men’s perceptions of fear and safety. This paper investigates the intersections of traditional, dominant masculinity—or masculinism—and men’s fear in public space, based on interviews with 82 undergraduate men students. Masculinism features qualities such as control, competition, aggression, and physical strength. We argue that, for many men, public spaces and situations that challenge this masculinist identity may generate fear. Similarly, spaces and situations that promote feelings of safety do so, in part, by bolstering this identity. We employ the lens of masculinity to explore men’s feelings of fear of the unknown, heightened awareness and safety, fear of confrontation, and safety in numbers. Conclusions examine implications for the development of masculinity and recommendations for future research.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1995)
The nature of public space in contemporary society is changing. This paper uses the turmoil over People's Park in Berkeley, California, as a means for exploring changing ideas about and practices in public space. I argue that as public space is increasingly privatized or otherwise brought under greater control, possibilities for democratic action are minimized. To make this claim, I provide a brief outline of the roots of the August 1991 riots at People's Park. I then examine the role that public space plays in modern democracies, and how ideas about public space have developed dialectically with definitions of who counts as "the public." In American democracy, "the public" is constituted by private individuals. In this paper, I suggest that the presence of homeless people in public spaces raises important contradictions at the heart of this definition of "the public." Many commentators suggest that these contradictions have led to "the end of public space" in contemporary cities, or at the very least, the removal of its political functions to the "space" of electronic communication. I examine what this move means for democratic action in the city and show that material public spaces remain a necessity for (particularly) oppositional political movements. This returns us to People's Park, as these were precisely the issues that structured the riots in 1991. I conclude the paper with a sketch of where People's Park and the issues raised by the riots now stand.
Journal of Environmental Psychology (2000)
Women's use of public space has been the subject of much recent research. Existing theory in environment-behavior studies is inadequate to explain these findings. This paper proposes the adoption of the feminist theory of the 'ethic of care' to synthesize and explain much existing research on women's experience of public space. The ethic of care is a model of moral development in which the highest moral imperative requires taking care of needs and sustaining relationships. This paper examines how the ethic of care creates constraints for women's use of public space, by encouraging women to put others first and by reinforcing women's primary responsibility for care-giving. The ethic of care constrains women's use of public space through the association of women with low status `caring' occupations, and through actions that extend restrictive caring to women. At the same time, through women's use of public space, the ethic of care generates possibilities for women to give and receive care from others and themselves, and creates possibilities for extending care to encompass public spaces. The ethic of care is explored in detail in light of two areas of environment-behavior research on women and public spaces: preference and fear of crime. In conclusion, the paper advocates the ethic of care as a framework for future activism, design, and scholarship concerning public spaces.
Theory and Society (2009)
Over the last 30 years, social theorists have increasingly emphasized the importance of space. However, in empirical research, the dialectical relationship between social interaction and the physical environment is still a largely neglected issue. Using the theory of structuration, I provide a concrete example of why and how space matters in the cultural analysis of an urban social world. I argue that bike messengers—individuals who deliver time-sensitive materials in downtown cores of major cities—cannot be understood outside an analysis of space. Specifically, I connect the cultural significance of messenger practices to the emplacement of those practices inside the urban environment.
Environment and Behavior (2008)
Creating “community” has long been a goal of urban planners. Although such rhetoric abounds in planning circles, what it all means is unclear. In this article, the authors review the community psychology and urban plan- ning literature, defining sense of community within the context of how the built environment might facilitate or impede it. They then present their research, which tests the effects of “main street” on sense of community in four San Francisco neighborhoods. Results indicate that respondents in neighborhoods exhibiting characteristics of a main street town (Bernal Heights and West Portal) have significantly higher sense of community than do respondents from a high-density neighborhood (Nob Hill) and from a more suburban-style city neighborhood (Sunset).
Thunderbird International Business Review (2010)
In this article, we aim to develop a conceptual framework from a community perspective to examine the noneconomic effects of ethnic entrepreneurship, paying close attention to the linkage between entrepreneurship and community building. We base our analysis on ethnographic data from our comparative case studies of the Chinese and Korean enclave economies in Los Angeles. We argue that it is the social embeddedness of entrepreneurship, rather than individual entrepreneurs per se, that creates a unique social environment conducive to upward social mobility. This study suggests that ethnic entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in immigrant adaptation beyond observable eco- nomic gains. Policy implications are discussed.
Town Planning Review (1993)
Urban plazas have proliferated in American downtowns during the last decade. This paper examines the private production of open space as a form of privatisation of a public amenity. Using three case studies of plazas built by private capital in downtown Los Angeles, the study examines their development process, design and physical layout, management, control and social uses. It is found that the spaces display characteristics drastically different from those of traditional public places. Certain design cues in combination with stringent control practices are used in these settings to promote the purposes and goals of private enterprise. Characteristics such as introversion, enclosure, protection, escapism, commercialism, social filtering and exclusivity are seen as resulting in environments that are congruent with the private interests but not always beneficial to the general public.
Geographical Review (2005)
In the public-space discourse Los Angeles is usually portrayed as more "anti-city" than city. Its landscape is overrun by houses, "private-public" squares and plazas, theme parks, shopping malls, and so on and lacks inclusive public places. Yet this discourse has essentially disdained to contemplate a major public space that contradicts its general thesis: the Los Angeles coast. The coast is meaningful public place in two specific senses. First, it symbolizes Los Angeles as a whole and therefore provides a basis for regional public identity. Second, Angelinos themselves take the coast seriously as a public place, and they have striven to make it inclusive in prac- tice.
Polar: Political and legal anthropology review (2016)
This article explores how indigenous migrants experience the sociopolitical and existential condition of “illegality” in the United States. Drawing on the experiences of Maya migrants from Yucat´an, Mexico, in the San Francisco Bay Area, I argue that the specter of state surveillance and the threat of law enforcement produce a particular politics of (im)mobility for indigenous migrants. This local politics of mobility takes form through spatial tactics of invisibility and visibility. Tracing migrants’ tactical maneuvers through public space, I show how their relations to space, place, and movement alter cultural sensibilities of tranquilidad (tranquility), and further instantiate “illegality” as a site of exclusion. This analysis of the experiential effects of anticipated surveillance provides a
deeper understanding of the power of the state to enforce migrant “illegality” even in cities that promise official sanctuary.
Journal of Urban Design (1996)
This two-part essay analyses the changing nature of the public realm in the evolving edge of the American metropolis and the implications for urban design and planning. Many forces are changing the form and use of public space in cities--concerns for safety and liveability, increasing dependence on telecommunications, decline in public revenues, the privatization of many amenities, and an increasingly pluralist society. The essay specifically focuses on the historical influence of planning and design practices on suburban form: density levels, land use and zoning patterns, suburban layouts and streetscapes. Field surveys and morphological analyses of urban edge patterns from the San Francisco Bay area document the current state of the suburban public realm. The second part of the essay will examine how physical planning can contribute to restoring a more vibrant public realm amidst raging debates over its changing nature and relevance.
Journal of Planning Education and Research (1995)
The paper examines four case studies of neighborhood parks in socially and ethnically diverse communities of Los Angeles in order to explore similarities and differences of their uses and assigned meanings. More specifically, the study utilizes structured field observations and surveys of users in order to examine sociocultural patterns of park use, the relevance of past models of park design, and the level of fit between current park form and contemporary user needs.
Sociological Methods & Research (2019)
This article makes the case for shadowing as ethnographic methodology: focusing attention on what occurs as interlocutors move among settings and situations. Whereas ethnographers often zoom in on one principal set of situations or site, we argue that intersituational variation broadens and deepens the researcher’s ethnographic account as well as affording important correctives to some common inferential pitfalls. We provide four warrants for shadowing: (a) buttressing intersituational claims, (b) deepening ethnographers’ ability to trace meaning making by showing how meanings shift as they travel and how such shifts may affect interlocutors’ understandings, (c) gaining leverage on the structure of subjects’ social worlds, and (d) helping the ethnographer make larger causal arguments. We show the use value of these considerations through an analysis of violence and informal networks in an ethnography of immigrant Latinos who met to socialize and play soccer in a Los Angeles park.