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Private control and public openness. The development of London’s public spaces since the Mayor’s 2009 manifesto

Abstract

This research aims to analyse the ongoing privatization of public spaces in London. It also seeks to explore the impact of the 2009 Mayor’s policy document named ‘A Manifesto for Public Space - London’s Great Outdoors’ in this process. The manifesto argues in opposition to the growing ‘corporatisation’ and exclusion of privately controlled spaces and in favour of spaces that are open ‘for all Londoners’ and with a planning process overseen by the Public Sector. In order to understand if these goals were achieved, an initial inventory listed all the developments after 2009. The projects’ examination made it possible to identify the most important cases in each group. This article analyses whether these developments are private public spaces or whether they remain genuinely public, thus examining the manifesto’s effectiveness on London’s lived spaces. In order to do that, a critical approach was constructed upon the literature review, in order to confront the ideas of public space with the spatial experience. This dissection demonstrated how recent complexity of urban space production has created new phenomena in the city, that can be assembled in the concepts of Velvet Ground, Tangled Orbits and Repeated Compulsion of Space Consumption. The concepts clarify the relationship between social control, the democratic openness of public space, and citizenship. The study concludes that a new form of privatized space is taking over the city, and the proposed policies were unable to stop this tendency.

Published:
Pages:129 to 146
Section: Systems
How to Cite
de Lima Amaral, C. (2016) “Private control and public openness. The development of London’s public spaces since the Mayor’s 2009 manifesto”, The Journal of Public Space, 1(1), pp. 129-146. doi: 10.5204/jps.v1i1.15.

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Author Biography

University of East London
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Camilo V. L. Amaral is an Architect and Urbanist, with a MRes at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, focused on political economy of urban planning. He worked as an architect, developing projects of multiple story buildings and urban regeneration plans. He is a professor and former undergraduate Program Leader at Universidade Federal de Goiás, where he has supervised a series of awarded design, including one in the Biennal of Sao Paulo. He has published in the field of urban theory and history, and on architectural theory and design process, and he received the international award Bengt Turner 2015 for his research on the London Housing Crises. Currently he is a PhD candidate at University of East London, with support from a CAPES fellowship, developing research on the relation between architecture and the (re)production of social relations.

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