links for 2009-09-24

  • A public space refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all citizens, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons. For example, no fees or paid tickets are required for entry, nor are the entrants discriminated based on background. Non-government-owned malls are examples of 'private space' with the appearance of being 'public space'.

    Public space has also become something of a touchstone for critical theory in relation to philosophy, (urban) geography, visual art, cultural studies, social studies and urban design. Its relevance seems to become more pressing as capital encloses more and more of what were thought of as 'commons'. The term 'Public Space' is also often misconstrued to mean other things such as 'gathering place', which is an element of the larger concept.

  • "If members of the public had no right whatsoever to distribute leaflets or engage in other expressive activity on government-owned property (except with permission), then there would be little if any opportunity to exercise their rights of freedom of expression. Only those with enough wealth to own land, or mass media facilities (whose ownership is largely concentrated), would be able to engage in free expression. This would subvert achievement of the Charter's basic purpose as identified by this Court, i.e., the free exchange of ideas, open debate of public affairs, the effective working of democratic institutions and the pursuit of knowledge and truth. These eminent goals would be frustrated if for practical purposes, only the favoured few have any avenue to communicate with the public."