Margaret Crawford


Like everything else in this large and disparate country, public space, as a movement and as a collection of physical places is highly varied and unequally distributed. Even so, over the last decade public space in both senses has moved to the forefront of American urbanism. In terms of academic debates, the narratives of decline that dominated discussions of public space since the 1990s have been replaced with expanded definitions of public space. The number of actual new public spaces, public events and support for them has grown exponentially over the last decade.  These spaces continue to attract large numbers of people. For design professionals, this has meant new opportunities to connect their practices with the larger public realm.  At the same time, however, critics have raised important questions about their inclusivity and ability to promote genuine social interaction.


How to Cite
Crawford, M. (2016) “Public Space Update. Report from the United States”, The Journal of Public Space, 1(1), pp. 11–16. doi: 10.5204/jps.v1i1.5.
Author Biography

Margaret Crawford, University of California Berkeley

Margaret Crawford teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture, urbanism, and urban history as well as urban design and planning studios focusing on small-scale urbanity and postmodern urbanism.
Her research focuses on the evolution, uses, and meanings of urban space. She is also known for her work on Everyday Urbanism, a concept that encourages the close investigation and empathetic understanding of the specifics of daily life as the basis for urban theory and design. In 2005, Doug Kelbaugh characterized Everyday Urbanism as one of three contemporary paradigms of urbanism on the cutting edge of theoretical and professional activity.
She has also published numerous articles on immigrant spatial practices, shopping malls, public space, and other issues in the American built environment. Since 2003, Crawford has been investigating the effects of rapid physical and social changes on villages in China’s Pearl River Delta.
Prior to coming to Berkeley, Crawford was Professor of Urban Design and Planning Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and, before that, Chair of the History, Theory and Humanities program at the Southern California Institute for Architecture. She has also taught at the University of Southern California, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Florence, Italy. Crawford has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including the Guggenheim, Fulbright, Quadrant, James Marsden Fitch Foundation, and Graham Foundation.