Law and Public Space

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Right to the City

Don Mitchell, author of The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space proposed that social exclusion is the leftover product to social activism and changes in public space law. He argued that having rights to access urban public space is important, as increase of security in public spaces has limited rights, especially for homeless people. In drawing his theory of social justice and public space from Raymond Williams who reflect on Matthew Arnold and the Hyde Park riots of 1866, Mitchell explains the relationship between rights and public order. For example, in the case of anti-abortion protesters, Mitchell concluded that for policymaker, the case was more about controlling rather than what was being exercised. Therefore, he suggests that public space and rights ties to each other and looking over how the policing of public law can allow us to achieve social justice. Mitchell’s book have many strengths, for example this book can be very helpful for the reevaluating of how law should be implemented, especially for the case of public space and public order. This book provides a very good argument case of how social justice can be achieving through right to the city or public space. This book so provided readers with a better understand of the history of public space by drawing data from Raymond Williams. With this being said, there are some weakness in this book that I found that some of Mitchell’s ideas lack completion. I think that it takes more than just developing new set of laws that regulate public space. It is a great start but I think that there are more to obtaining social justice, for example the fact that people are not created equally or have equal rights. Therefore, my view is that there are gaps between human rights and social justice. Achieving social justice doesn’t mean if we obtain human right, we would get there.
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