Around the world, there is increasing concern with the ways in which different populations use public spaces and places. Focusing on the French context, this paper investigates conceptual difficulties inherent in the co‐occupation of space by different population groups. The focus is to shed light on the ordinary engagement of teenagers in a working‐class neighbourhood in terms of differentiated social practices according to gender, age, social network, the physical and social morphology of the neighbourhood, and relational and situational criteria. Their occupation of space is channelled by public policies as well as educational, family, and socio‐educational care that structure their time and space. However, this paper highlights also the subjective dimension. Manipulating the ‘regime of familiarity’ and the ‘regime of regular planning’, teenagers learn through experimentation to use the ‘regime of justification’, thus challenging adult spatiality in terms of their moral and political involvement. The deliberate and involuntary characteristics of their occupation of space transgresses the accepted uses of public space and disturbs adults. Their actions produce discomfort, which adult residents express through distancing practices. Teenagers recall various situations of general dissatisfaction that they are unable to synthesise in a complaint with reference to a general problem, and they express this feeling through stronger transgressions. Low‐level conflict between adults and teenagers is thus self‐perpetuated. Furthermore, teenagers' occupation of space is differentiated between girls and boys, between the ‘cool’ teenagers and the ‘geeks’, the teenagers from the neighbourhood and those from the outside, those who ‘have origins’ and those who do not. This generates unpleasant reciprocal disturbance and an everyday conflict that is further perpetuated by the failure to frame this disturbance as a public problem.