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Cruising Place

The Placemaking Practices of Men who Have Sex with Men

Abstract

There is a fundamental belief in placemaking practice that place is a reflection of people - their memories, values, culture, and socio-spatial traditions – and that successful placemaking is the manifestation of these traditions in public policy, public space, and ultimately public life. As placemaking professionals, we work to advocate for, facilitate, and operationalize placemaking practices of the people and communities we work with. An essential part of this effort is recognition that effective placemaking involves collaboration between specialists and community stakeholders and this sentiment is expressed by institutions on the forefront of our professional and academic discourse.
Placemaking professionals also place an emphasis on activating space through programmatic intervention, guided by the belief that the most effective way to generate value in public space is to create a reason or excuse for people to be there by encouraging activity, particularly economic, but also communal, political, and cultural activity.
The ongoing operationalization, sanitization, and commoditization of place inevitably results in the undermining of marginal placemaking practices, especially if they subvert our definition of a “good place.” Placemaking professionals have the ability – the obligation - to cultivate a broader, more inclusive concept of place. This paper is an analysis of the social, spatial, and historical forces that have given rise to one particular form of unsanctioned placemaking practice - the activity of “cruising for sex” in public parks by men who have sex with men (MSM).

Published:
Pages:179 to 186
Section: Reports from 'Past Present and Future of Public Space'
How to Cite
Bezemes, J. (2019) “Cruising Place”, The Journal of Public Space, 4(4), pp. 179-186. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v4i4.1240.
Article Keywords:

Author Biography

Pratt Institute
United States United States

John Bezemes is a New York City-based urban designer and educator. John grew up in Somerville, Massachusetts and moved to New York City in 2004 to attended Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture. He received a BARCH degree in 2009 and practiced for several years as a freelance designer. In 2018 John completed an Urban Placemaking & Management MS also at Pratt Institute and held a position as an Undergraduate Admissions Director during his time there. In 2020, John will join the Public Space Division at the New York City Department of Transportation as an urban designer.
Alongside his professional work, John is conducting research focusing on subversive LGBTQ+ placemaking practices. This research began as a reaction to a movement in academic and professional practice towards the commodification of place, which reinforces existing repressive power structures in public space at the expense of marginalized people and places.

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Open Access Journal
ISSN 2206-9658