Where is our public space?

What is the function of the public space?  To me, I think it creates a chance to let people have interaction with each other, in general, to have fun. Yet I think nowadays the public space is a place focused more on ‘selling’ the city rather than let people have fun.

The public space, in my opinion should be a place create a chance to gather citizens together, in general, to let people have fun and make life easier. But the reality is the public space is actually a reflection of the city, therefore, the public space is kind of platform to present the city’s issues. So government wants the public space to be nice and organized in order to ‘sell’ this city to tourist.

I personally really like Hou’s article, he links these issues with the specific and famous examples such as the Shilin Night Market. ‘Across the pacific, in the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, one of the largest and most popular evening markets in the city, illegal vendors find ways every night to escape police apparatus, and temporary storage sites so that, when the policemen approach the market from a distance, they can easily detect them, signal each other, disappear in a matter of seconds, and then converge again once the cops go away.’  (Hou, p.11) Although I haven’t get a chance to visit Taiwan, I heard Shilin night market thousands of times from TV drama. My Taiwanese friends also keep telling me how amazing that place is.  But still, it is a illegal night market. I remember there was a huge night market near where I live when I was in Shanghai, I went there almost every single night at 7:30 p.m, and come back with a small bag of jewelry at 9:00 p.m. I admit it looks messy on the streets with the street vendors, but on the other hand, the street vendors create another form of entertainment to the citizens. This is the most natural way the city should look like, getting rid of the street vendors make me feel that the city becomes ‘ artificial’.

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reference:

Hou, J. 2010. (Not) your everyday public space. Insurgent Public Space, 1-11.

Valverde, M. 2012. Putting Diversity on the Menu in Everyday Law on the Street. United States: University of Chicago Press, 141-164.

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