URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 38–46 | Cite as

Rethinking public space: between rhetoric and reality

  • Ali MadanipourEmail author
Original Article


The idea of public space has moved from a critique to an orthodoxy, embraced by most stakeholders as an important part of urban development. In this process, however, it has been co-opted in ways which may be at odds with its earlier ideals. This paper develops a critique of this process of transition, showing how the rhetoric of the public space as a multidimensional space of interaction may be used, but practically targeting the creation of a space of attraction, an instrument of delivering investment and maximizing rewards. The paper examines four areas of this transition in the broad processes of political, economic and cultural transformation, and the gaps between rhetoric and reality in the provision and character of public spaces reflect these processes in concrete ways.


Public space Inequality Diversity Access Interaction Attraction 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture, Planning and LandscapeNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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