Is public space privatization always bad for the public? Mixed evidence from the United Kingdom

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Abstract

In the last four decades, public space production has shifted from being predominantly led by the public sector to include a greater variety of private actors, large and small, for-profit and non-profit. This study, set in Liverpool, England, analyses and compares three variations of the privatization of public space production: entirely private development; public private partnership (PPP); and community-led development. The purpose is to determine whether, why, and by how much ‘publicness’ has declined in the production of urban spaces. While most planning literature has tended to demonize privatization, this study reveals that processes which tend to be collaborative and involve multiple public and private stakeholders have a higher degree of ‘publicness’ compared to both entirely privately-led and entirely publicly-led processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102649
Number of pages11
JournalCities
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Liverpool
  • Neoliberalism
  • Privatization
  • Public space
  • Publicness
  • Urban development

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