Public Space of the Self-Made City

Louise Hjerrild, Maurice Harteveld (Editor)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


    This paper discusses the juxtaposition of contemporary urban theory on public space with the emerging forms of public interaction in self-made cities. The public behaviourology of the large self-made settlements is evaluated through the lenses of Euro-American scholars aiming at exploring their political
    meaning, social involvement and social entrepreneurialism. The paper tries to understand these phenomena within the specific case of Dharavi, an informal settlement of Mumbai in India.
    The research study examines the established urban theories on public space within the cultural contextualism of the self-made city of the Global south. It aims at understanding to what extent the publicness is connected to cultural identity and what kind of new interactive models can be discovered. The investigation is formed as a set of hypotheses seeking a critical perspective
    in order to review the validation or disproval of particular urban theories coming from the Euro-American literature. The analysed scholars, which have a genuine interest in publicness of contemporary cities as well as a clear focus on different
    social phenomena related to public spaces, includes authors like Lefebvre H., Sennett R., Whyte W., Jacobs J., Gehl J. and Crawford M.
    Upon examination of the behavioural patterns, the analysis reveals significant contradictions which highlight the importance of studying the culturalism of cities of the Global south parallel to the established body of Euro-American urban theory. The exposure of the results demonstrates the positive and critical approaches and the possibility of a match or conflict in all attempts. The final phase opens a debate if Euro-American urban theory is on the forefront of understanding the forms of social interactions in public spaces or if the established literature should be upgraded acknowledging the role of the self-made city.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Entrepreneurial City
    EditorsH. Tieben, Y. Geng, F. Rossini
    PublisherInternational Forum on Urbanism (IFoU)
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)978-962-8272-33-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Public Space
    • Urban Theory
    • SelfMade City
    • Global South
    • Social Entrepreneurialism


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