IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The privatization of public space: modeling and measuring publicness

Listed author(s):
  • Jeremy Németh
  • Stephen Schmidt
Registered author(s):

    Privately owned public spaces are frequently criticized for diminishing the publicness of public space by restricting social interaction, constraining individual liberties, and excluding undesirable populations. This study empirically determines whether, as is commonly believed, privately owned public spaces are more controlled than publicly owned spaces. To frame our empirical work, we propose a conceptual model that identifies publicness as the interaction between the ownership, management, and uses/users of a space. We then examine the management dimension using an observation-based index to assess spatial management paradigms in publicly and privately owned spaces. We find that the use of the private sector to provide publicly accessible space leads to increased control over use, behavior, and access. Furthermore, while both publicly and privately owned public spaces tend equally to encourage public use and access, managers of privately owned spaces tend to employ more features that control behavior within those spaces. More specifically, spatial control in privately owned spaces is normally achieved through the use of surveillance and policing techniques as well as design measures that ‘code’ spaces as private. Important findings are presented for planners, policy makers, and others concerned with the future of publicly accessible spaces.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: abstract
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 5-23

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:38:y:2011:i:1:p:5-23
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:38:y:2011:i:1:p:5-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Neil Hammond)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.