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