An important place for people to socialize, play, speak about government concerns, and just have an area to convene is what we may call public space. But our public space is being increasingly policed, and has too many restrictions that make it start to not feel like a public space for human interaction. When rules and restrictions start to be imposed on these spaces, they are no longer freely accessible to the people. They should be available to everyone to express themself freely and enjoy parts of their neighborhood that they share with others outside of their homes.

Increased policing makes these public spaces feel unnatural and restricted. According to the article “Policing Public Space,” a man named Brendan Jones was taking photos of an interaction between police and a drunk person in the park. He was issued a ticket for “using urban equipment for uses other than those intended,” meaning that he was sitting on a surface that was not a bench in the park, and it was used in a way that it was not intended for. Many other people were sitting on this granite surface as well, but Jones received the ticket because the police felt that they were being watched by Jones when he used his camera to take photos of them, and this punishment was their defense. This kind of treatment is unfair to the public. Jones was in a public park, using his camera at his leisure. Receiving a fine for this makes it feel like you are in a private area with rules against where you can sit and what you can do. I agree to some extent that we should not have surveillance cameras in public areas because I don’t think it will stop crime or other bad things from happening, but I think more so that it will help after the fact to solve a case or issue. However, if you are using public space in a way that is not harming anyone, I am sure you wouldn’t mind a few surveillance cameras.

Another way that we see that public space is being taken away from us is the plans for major construction of a new stadium, a mall, a hotel, parking lots, and expansion of the tennis center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This would take away an enormous amount of public space that is very important to a lot of people who live in that area. People go tscreen-shot-2016-11-23-at-1-21-11-pmhere to socialize, play sports with their friends after school, and spend time on the weekend with their families. Taking away this space would affect their lives and how they interact with others in their neighborhood. Turning this into a commercial area would benefit the developers, the Tennis Association and MLS, but would increase traffic, congestion, and most importantly take away people’s public space that is very important to them. These construction proposals may be thought by some people to bring good change and new jobs, but in reality mostly bring in low-wage jobs and are taking away important living and necessary human socialization space. (queenstrippleplay.pdf)

 

Sources:

http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2008/http://drdawgsblawg.blogspot.com/2008/04/policing-public-space.html04/policing-public-space.html

http://The Pratt Center for Community Development 2012. Queens Triple Play: Willets West,Major League Soccer and The National Tennis Center. Brooklyn, NY: The Pratt Institute(September 21, 2012). queens triple play.pdf

Assignment 4-8, Public Space, ,

One Comment

  1. Your perspective on limited public space is interesting and eye-opening when you think about how restricted we are in our own city. Public space is a beneficiary to the growth and positive impact that citizens can have on their communities. For example public space has a democratic quality to it because it is a place where people can freely discuss policies and where they can protest, therefore limited public space restricts our rights. There are even subliminal messages around the city that makes people feel like they don’t belong, for example fortress architecture infuses power and exclusivity into architecture and it tells certain people that they don’t belong in that area.
    You used a great example from the article “Policing Public Space” where the drunk person was sitting on the park bench and got fined. I agree when you said that if you are using a public space in a way that isn’t hurting anyone then you shouldn’t be bothered, this is similar to why loitering is considered a crime. Also I feel like the amount of limited public space becomes even more limited when you think about how certain races and non affluent citizens feel like they don’t belong in certain parts of the city because of their status, and how different public spaces give them negative vibes. Overall I feel like everyone should be able to express themselves freely in their own neighborhoods and cities.

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