Privatizing the Public Sphere

Topics: Urban design, Social class, City Pages: 4 (1576 words) Published: February 13, 2002
Privatizing the Public Sphere

The privatization and fragmentation of space in post-industrial urban America is a widespread social problem. As society becomes even more globalized as a result of technological advances, the rampant spread of a privatized public realm is ever-increasing. Public space is needed as a center in which to bring people together to share a common place. It is within public spaces that public life unfolds and without public spaces such as parks, streets, and buildings, the mixing of classes will become increasingly uncommon. Society is made up of two sectors: the private and public, and it is essential that both remain separate entities. However, through the use of fear tactics especially the threat of violent crimes, privatized settings are spreading throughout the public sphere. In this analysis, it is my intent to explore the various tactics being used to impede upon the public sphere. In doing so, I will explore the causal factors that contribute to the increased privatization of urban public life.
Historically, the city was an all-encompassing entity. At the dawn of industrialization, large masses of people flocked to the city in hopes of a better economic life for themselves and their families. It was within the city limits, particularly closest to the areas of commerce and exchange that people took up residence, worked, and pursued various social activities. The city served the needs of all its citizens. However, as industrialization moved further along, there was a major shift in urban economics. While many businesses flourished, so did wealth and as this increased, society faced an evolving class system. Three notable classes emerged: the lower/working class, the middle class, and the upper/elite class. While these class divisions grew, a large amount of money was being invested in the creation of public venues. Public institutions were designed to bring education, culture, and in many ways, a sense of...
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