Vikas Mehta


COVID-19 has hit cities hard. With the closure of places of work and learning, third places, places of leisure and consumption, and more, the pandemic has diminished our territories and contracted public space and public life. But a keen observation reveals a more nuanced picture. In many neighborhoods, an interesting phenomenon of reclaiming much neighborhood space for public use is evident. The repurposing of residential streets, sidewalks, parking lots, and other modest public spaces in neighborhoods shows an expansion of public space and sociability. This expansion is also that of agency. The elimination of events and programming and the cordoning off of standardized equipment has left public space in an unembellished state of bareness. Space is available for citizens to make public. This pandemic has revealed our desire for publicness of the everyday, our ingenuity to use spaces for public life, and what is possible in our cities and in our public spaces.


How to Cite
Mehta, V. (2020) “Public Space and COVID-19: Contraction, Expansion, and Adaptation”, The Journal of Public Space, 5(3), pp. 15–22. doi: 10.32891/jps.v5i3.1360.


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