Public space and security


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Public space and security

  1. 1. Public Space and Security Stephen Graham Newcastle University
  2. 2. Public space and security •  1. Increasing securitisation, fragmentation and privatisation of public space •  Response to: growing social inequality; •  market-based ideologies of urban development (‘neoliberalisation’); •  competition between places as sites of investment, tourism and consumption; •  growing fears amongst urbanites about risks of mixing on streets; •  and growing norm of mall-like, suburban environments in people’s lives
  3. 3. Above all, the idea of the ‘Revanchist City’ where business and consumption elites work to ‘take back’ the city centre they feel they’ve ‘lost’ to the poor in the name of ‘regeneration’ or ‘renaissance’ Revenge on urban poor in the name of ‘security’? * Anti-social behaviour orders Criminalisation of begging, Big Issue selling, groups of young people ‘loitering’, homeless, street vending etc Extend powers of corporate retailers
  4. 4. The Splintering Urbanism Thesis (Graham and Marvin, 2001) •  Broad pressures to shift from monopolistic, universal, and redistributive planning and public space and infrastructure provision to fragmented, splintered, systems •  (Neo)liberalisation, globalisation, and dominant applications of new technology •  Shift from progressive cross subsidies to regressive ones •  Growth of ‘premium network’ spaces which overlay, run through, or are increasingly separated from rest of city •  Threatens to deepen urban polarisation •  But patchy: not universal !
  5. 5. Polycentric urbanism
  6. 6. Streets and Urban Public Spaces Growth of Private Consumption Enclaves
  7. 7. Urban Landscapes Increasingly Reflect This Polarisation: e.g. Liverpool One: Privatised City Centre Enclave
  8. 8. Residualisation of Public Streets: Hong Kong
  9. 9. Local Bypass of the Street: Boston
  10. 10. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs): “Malls Without walls’
  11. 11. Growth of Street CCTV •  6 million cameras in UK •  Average Londoner viewed 300 times per day! •  Linked to privatization and enclosure of public space and normalisation of shopping-mall style controls: “malls without walls” •  Moral panics e.g. Jamie Bulger murder, Liverpool •  Geographical diffusion towards near ubiquity •  “Surveillance creep” as extra functions added •  Militarisation of law enforcement: ‘Homeland Security’
  12. 12. CCTV on a Typical NYC Shopping Street
  13. 13. Domestic Fortressing and Secession of Elites e.g. Post-Apartheid S. Africa
  14. 14. Gating now norm around many US cities (e.g. Phoenix)
  15. 15. Global Offshoring of Elites (Offshore finance cities) Even Efforts at Complete Territorial Secession (e.g. Freedom Ship “The City at Sea”) see http://
  16. 16. Event Space (AIPAC summit, Sydney, UEFA Euros, Switzerland)
  17. 17. New Elite Technology Districts e.g. Kuala Lumpur
  18. 18. Splintering of Key Financial Cores as ‘Security Zones’ e.g. London’s Ring of Steel
  19. 19. London’s Ring of Steel and New York’s New ‘Lower Manhattan Security Initiative’
  20. 20. Conclusion •  Need to be critical of use of one idea of ‘security’ – for elites, investors, wealthy, tourists, property owners etc. – to justify the active undermining of the social and economic welfare and security of marginalised and powerless groups! •  Must look beneath official and orthodox rhetorics of developers, urban managers and organisations like BIDs
  21. 21. •  Case study : 1990s New York (Video) •  How are certain ideas of ‘security’ being used to re-make the public spaces in New York example? •  What are these ideas of ‘security’? Security for whom? Security from what? •  What are the social and geographic effects on the City?