Thought experiment on the types of spaces we share

I’m revisiting the overall structure of my paper with this thought experiment. Instead of categorising how we experience the obstructions themselves, this is an investigation into the 4 main categories of spaces that we share: 3 ‘public’ and the 4th being private.

I redistributed the pictures from my draft paper into the categories below to see what would happen. What quickly became clear is that the majority of pictures belonged to category (1), public spaces; cctv featured in every category; and in the majority of cases these obstructions proliferated at the edges – where one space meets another.

1  Public spaces: this category is generally thought of as the ‘commons’. These spaces may ultimately belong to someone but they are – to all intents and purposes – space that the public has rights to access and share, albeit with restricted hours in some cases. Examples include roads, pavements, public squares (some), footpaths, towpaths, river-fronts, parks, national parks, play parks, village greens, community skateparks, beaches, public toilets, libraries, cemeteries, government buildings (some).
2  Privately-owned ‘public spaces’: these are designed to appear like public spaces, but they are not. Their mere existence is a result of concessions made by large developers to local government in exchange to access to land and/or air rights. Examples include: plazas and squares in modern mixed retail / business developments, ‘malls without walls’ (eg Kings Cross), some ‘public’ squares, some ‘public’ parks, some river-fronts.
3.1  Open access: we may wander into these spaces without obligation to pay. Examples include: shops, shopping centres and malls (general areas), some museums, some art galleries, main station departure/arrival halls, airport departure/arrival halls, bus stations, garden centres, some national trust properties, some public toilets.
3.2  Pay-to-stay: we may wander into these spaces for a moment, but if we wish to stay – we must pay. Examples include: cafés, restaurants, pubs, cinemas, theatres, petrol station forecourts, street parking spaces, some car parks.
3.3  Pay-to-access: we must pay to use these spaces, either on an ad-hoc basis or by some form of prior payment or membership. Examples include: transport, taxis, minicabs, nightclubs, members’ clubs, health clubs, zoos, some museums, some art galleries, private skateparks, council-run sports facilities, some car parks.
3.4  Authorised access only, these are often closed community spaces, where security can be a concern. Examples include: workplaces, schools, colleges, doctors’ surgeries, hospital wards and outpatients’ departments, airports – ‘airside’, some garden squares, gated communities, sheltered accommodation, business parks.
4. Private spaces: our homes and workplaces.








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