Monday, June 11, 2012

Public space in private and corporate hands

This piece from the UK Guardian describes precisely what is happening here in WA.  
 No better example than the $400 m Waterfront redevelopment on Perth's foreshore which is handing over large swathes of prime public riverfront land to private and corporate owners.
What we are seeing is the privatization of public space, the corporate and private takeover of more and more public land and public space and the use of corporate design principles to transform public areas is all part of the corporate takeover of every aspect of our lives.
The Guardian piece continues:
 Over the past decade, large parts of Britain's cities have been redeveloped as privately-owned estates, extending corporate control over some of the country's busiest squares and thoroughfares.
These developments are no longer simply enclosed malls like Westfield in White City or business districts like Broadgate in the City of London – they are spaces open to the sky which appear to be entirely public to casual passers-by.
 It appears from the scale of the change that privatisation of space is now the standard price of redevelopment.
There are, of course, significant benefits to the redevelopments, though some worry that Britain's landscape is being slowly redefined by private ownership in two ways. 

As the Occupy protest highlighted, private owners can refuse right of entry to members of the public, closing off swaths of the city.

Critics also warn that these spaces are being designed on a corporate model which favours ornamental designs – and high levels of footfall for retailers – while community spirit and sustainability are far from a priority.

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