In my opinion, we all have the equal access to the public space, that’s why it is called ‘public space’. The only restriction whether you could be in that certain public space is whether your behavior is appropriate or inappropriate. There’s a place called ‘Wreck beach’ in UBC, Vancouver. I still remember that our group was assigned a topic related to the beach for grade 10 english class, and we need to take some pictures there. We were shocked when we entered that beach, all the people are naked lying on the beach or walking naked. I was like, Oh my god this is so embarrassing…All the people on the beach were looking at us because we were the only 3 people on the beach that were with clothes. Then we tried very hard ignoring those naked people and working on our project. When one of us was taking the picture of the sea, the sea!!!! There was a woman running towards us ( naked ), she took the camera from my friend and threw that into the sea. We can’t believe what just happened, What??? She was so angry at us and yelled ‘ what are you doing? we are naked, we are taking drugs and you guys are taking pictures? ‘ We were only 15 at that time, and all of us were scared, so we ran away from that beach. I had never went to that place since then.
Wreck beach is of course a public space for people being naked and taking drugs, but not for those visitors taking pictures of the view since it is considered as a strange and inappropriate behavior there.
Same as the LGBT area, a man could dress up like a girl without being weird in this area, however, if a man in a skirt is walking in Eaton center, people would sure think this guy is strange. From the course reading, “ For gay and lesbian identified individuals, negotiating the street thus presents a series of tactical choices, principally whether challenge the heternomativity of the street. Paradoxically, perhaps, this can include performances which are enactments of exaggerated versions of normative femininity and masculinity. These performances can destabilize the regulatory fictions of heteronormativity by placing in public view a disjuncture between an embodied gender appearance and assumed sexuality(1993) terms masquerade.’ (Smith, 2010, p 105) The city are divided into different sections, and only the appropriate behavior will be accepted by the other users of the particular public space. There’s no particular ownership for the public spaces except those ‘divided public spaces’ such as Chinatown, Little Italy and the LGBT area. Chinatown gives the most employment opportunity to Chinese, and LGBT area gives the opportunities to the LGBT. It shouldn’t be like this because difference area should only represent different culture in my opinion, not the restriction of the employment and it shouldn’t have the particular ownership for the public spaces. I feel awkward and afraid walking on the street of Church, and strongly experience that I am excluded from that place because i dress different from those people on the street.
It is not possible for the public space be inclusive to all the groups, some are just owned by different groups of people, and you are just not appropriate to be there.
Malone, K. 2002. Street life: youth, culture and competing uses of public space. Environment and Urbanization, 14, 157-168.
Hubbard, P. 2012. Public sex in Cities and Sexualities. New York: Routledge, 91-118.