Public space/sphere/options anyone?
Anyone interested in a conversation on the political connotations of public space? Can, does public space affect political discourse?
The word "public" and its etymological cousins: 'Pubic', 'Puberty' comes with the built-in notion that what is public is inherently adult or, at least, post-pubescent. Yet in practice, public space is --often enforced by law--pre-pubescent-- in that so called 'adult' activities are generally proscribed from public space. In Excesses: Eros and Culture, Alphonso Lingis made a very subversive connection between what we understand to be our 'private parts' and what is arguably an essential quality of capitalism: the right to proscribe, to exclude, to discriminate and, by extension, to define boundaries. Is public space really possible in capitalist society? Is the notion of shared space so utterly obscene as to represent a kind of civic exhibitionism that must be tightly regulated if not outright prohibited? Is the Castro district during Gay pride all that different from Miami beach during spring break? Who writes 'zoning laws' for the human body? (How much of it can be made public.)
Is this why the European style Piazza--Something very different from a park or a plaza-- is generally absent in American cities? Isn't public space the ideal market place?
Is that why walking around naked through public spaces is often perceived to be a leftist activity?
What's the libertarian attitude towards public space?
(I'm an architect, more of a theorist than a builder and this is a somewhat ongoing conversation in architecture and urban planning circles; yet, almost perversely, it rarely involves non-architects. I'm more interested in what the people we design for think than what other designers do...but I'll take other architects too.)
Last edited by dameni; 05-13-2010 at 12:02 AM..