IJSSH 2016 Vol.6(3): 201-207 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2016.V6.643

Public Space as Contested Space: The Battle over the Use, Meaning and Function of Public Space

Rowena Capulong Reyes
Abstract—Background: The optimists among the public space scholarship argue that instead of a well-organized, carefully concerted and highly controlled urban social life, what unfolds in regulated public spaces are a mélange of manifold incongruous lifestyles and a spatial condition. Thistheoretical proposition claims that public spaces are contested spaces offering a potent description of everyday reality in privatized public spaces like the shopping mall. But is a similar mechanics available outside the developed world? Objective: The study looked into the empirical validity of the urban spatial experiences of a developing country like the Philippines. Method: Case study method is employed. Verbal and observational data were analyzed using the process of pattern matching. Findings: Evidence indicates that oppositional politics exists in the public spaces of the privatized built environments. And this oppositional politics springs from three competing conceptualizations: the “by us”, “for us”, and “up to us” mentalities. Lessons Learned: Public space is not just about regulation; it is also about opposition. But unlike traditional forms of oppositional politics, these are not organized conquest of mall spaces; instead, they simply are individual acts of passive defiance.

Index Terms—Public space, oppositional politics, social control.

Rowena Capulong Reyes is with Far Eastern University, Philippines (e-mail: rcreyes@feu.edu.ph).

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Cite: Rowena Capulong Reyes, " Public Space as Contested Space: The Battle over the Use, Meaning and Function of Public Space," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 201-207, 2016.

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