The Importance Of Public Spaces

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When interacting with the urban context of the city, a city such as Johannesburg, it is apparent which spaces are obviously public simply by observing the users of the spaces and particularly how they interact with the space. Although these spaces are occupied by the general public, there is a certainty that they are subject to a certain code of conduct that they inherently adhere to, whether the rules are explicitly stated or subtly. Public spaces in the inner city and public spaces in the suburbs or more affluent areas bear a stark contrast to one another. In the more affluent areas, public spaces are subject to a “right of admission reserved” edict. Such is done as a manner to filter who uses the so called public spaces. The presence of surveillance is an omnipresent one that you become accustomed to. Public space has for many years been a contested topic, one whose definitions and understanding thereof has taken many forms over the years.
From this statement, I will be investigating at what constitutes a public space? The agents involved in the control of access and furthermore, the extent to which access is restricted. Public space is now a matter of who owns the particular piece of land, be it the state, a particular home owners association, or an individual.
Furthermore, I will be examining the privatisation of public spaces in cities, but mainly in the suburbs where the emergence of gated or boomed off communities have almost dominated the Johannesburg residential

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