Sorry, We’re Closed! A Discourse on Privatization of Public Space
Concerts, sport events, funfairs, exhibitions, parking, malls and other ticketed events provide a source of income for authorities struggling to pay for the maintenance of their space and organizing the attractions in the public space. Play-ground of schools, external sitting of a café, gated neighbourhoods, corporate plazas, metro stations and even parking lots are restricted to ‘pay and use’ concept. Even if it is not a paid event, entry is restricted via guarded gates or security check points ensuring that ‘unwanted people remain out’. The already limited public space percentage is then further compromised statistically adding another dimension of privatized-public space concept to the old-school public-private distinction. The selective privatization of public space creates sub-domains that are exclusionary and welcoming to only certain people, permitting specific type of activities only, creating the walls around you, in lieu of insecurity, danger and the nature of relationship desired with the public. The literature also suggests that the growing pressure to circumcise the public spaces is changing the way our public spaces are governed and managed.
This paper highlights the concept of privatized public spaces and its discourse in the public space arena. Ultimately, remonstrating the conflicts and issues emerging when the exchange value of public spaces is prioritized over their use value.
Key Words: Privatization, public spaces, private spaces, inclusivity, blurring boundaries