Truly Public Space Disappearing

As cities grow, the spaces within them that are truly public diminish, according to this piece. But even with few public spaces, public activities can still thrive.

This post from The Wall Street Journal's India Realtime blog looks at how the lack of public space affects the feeling of cities in India.

"In a city like New Delhi, well-protected and spacious historical sites, public parks, plazas and malls stand as a contrast to the action-packed and crowded streets of the anti-thesis of the world class in the very local, Chandni Chowk. In neighborhoods that decidedly don't fit with the world class vision, such as Dharavi in Mumbai, where any space is currency, designated public space is virtually non-existent but the spirit of the public infuses every nook and corner. Crowded streets become collective spaces during festivals; temples and shrines become either thoroughfares or meeting points; they remain oases of calm or contribute to the general din.

A layer of public-ness settles onto traffic-infested streets when collective prayer has to happen and for that one moment waves of urban chaos freeze, and allow for that incredible flash of community to manifest itself before crashing back into their usual stormy selves a few minutes later. More often than not, leisure, commercial and communication uses share the same space and time: streets are typically used simultaneously as a playground by kids, sales points by a street vendor, pedestrian links to the train station, as well as meeting places for residents, drying spaces for clothes and advertising spaces for movies and recruitment agencies."

Full Story: Urban Journal: The Vanishing Public of the ‘World Class City’

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 2012

Thinking about Grad School?

You need the essential resource for prospective planning students
Starting at $24.95
Book cover of Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!