The end of public space? People's Park, definitions of the public, and democracy

D. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


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. As public space is increasingly privatized or otherwise brought under greater control, possibilities for democratic action are minimized. A brief outline of the roots of the August 1991 riots at People's Park is proposed. 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' are examined. This paper suggests that the presence of homeless people in public spaces raises important contradictions at the heart of this definition of "the public'. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-133
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals - Association of American Geographers
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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