How accessible are neighbourhood open spaces? Control of public space and its management in contemporary cities
Public spaces are being increasingly controlled and managed by non-government agencies, and their publicness is shifting constantly, prompting concerns about the nature of the public realm in contemporary cities. Using a qualitative single case study analysis with the data collected from observations and interviews, this paper examines how control has been employed as a regulatory mechanism to manage neighbourhood open spaces in Kathmandu by a local community group, which has emerged as a formally responsible body for public space management. Our findings suggest that excessive control of public space is problematic as it diminishes a user’s ability to access open spaces. We analysed this evidence from two lenses. We first considered the transfer of management responsibilities to the community to argue that it has added new challenges to public space management by compromising the public realm. Secondly, from the point of view of the tendency of controlling public space, we maintain that public space managers have to ensure a balance between the need to control the space and making it accessible to the users. Contemporary approaches to public space management should aim for maintaining the public character of an urban place regardless of who owns or controls it.
Public space management, control, accessibility, publicness, contemporary cities, Kathmandu
Chitrakar, R. M., Baker, D. C., & Guaralda, M. (2022). How accessible are neighbourhood open spaces? Control of public space and its management in contemporary cities. Cities, 131, 103948.