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Revisiting the end of public space: assembling the public in an urban park

Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Sociological Association
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  • Hm Sociology
  • Linguistics
  • Political Science


A case study of the renovation of New York City's Bryant Park, this article revisits the end of public space thesis. The renovated park signifies not the end of public space but the new ends to which public space is oriented. In Bryant Park, a new logic of urban publicity was assembled and built into the landscape. The social and technical means by which this transformation was achieved are analyzed. New public spaces of this sort promulgate a conception of the public that is decoupled from discourses of democratization, citizenship, and self-development and connected ever more firmly to consumption, commerce, and social surveillance. If such places do not herald the end of public space, they do represent “publicity without democracy."

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