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Landscape of DiscontentUrban Sustainability in Immigrant Paris$
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Andrew Newman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816689620

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816689620.001.0001

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The Political Life of Small Urban Spaces

The Political Life of Small Urban Spaces

(p.163) 6 The Political Life of Small Urban Spaces
Landscape of Discontent

Andrew Newman

University of Minnesota Press

Chapter 6 rethinks the political important of public spaces in cities. Instead of past approaches, which see public space as important as stage for free speech by social movements, this chapter cites various types of evidence (the analysis of protests, interviews with park guards, and participant observation with neighborhood groups) to show, first, that “public” space does not always “free or just” and “private” does not equal enclosure or lack of democracy. I show that in urban politics, residents seeks to control the definition of private and public more than simply fight for more access to public space. Instead of public space as concept for urban politics, I develop the idea of the urban commons, as a space that seemingly belongs to no one and everyone, and therefore provides a sight for social, cultural, and political creativity. I show how the Jardins d’Éole has veered in and out of being an important commons since it was a vacant lot.

Keywords:   Paris, sustainable urban design, green architecture, urban nature, sustainable city, contested city, green gentrification, immigration in Europe, social movements, political ecology

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