Public space renewal, liveability and inequalities in contemporary cities

 In the last decades, the renewal of public spaces has been one of the axes of urban policies, aimed not only at improving the liveability of cities, but above all at making them more attractive for international real estate investments. This is the result of a global process which tends to produce similar physical spaces in different cities, such as water games that flow from the floor, pedestrian areas, recuperations of unused railways, small parks in waste spaces. Especially in the central areas of a great number of cities, various projects of restoration of public spaces have been essential not only to encourage the access of residents to the renovated spaces, but also to promote tourism, consumption and to increase the price of urban land.

 Based on this premise, the central idea of this session is that the programs of rescue of public spaces are characterized by an inherent contradiction. On one hand, they present a discourse that promotes the liveability of the city for all people and, in some cases, they succeed to increase the use of certain spaces for a wide range of residents. But on the other hand, its effects contribute to increase the inequalities between urban spaces and, in several cases, the access of a certain kind of people to revalorized spaces is directly or indirectly discouraged or hindered. This happens often through the increase in the prices of goods, the privatization of certain areas and the implementation of new regulations for the use of the renovated spaces.

In this session we espect to receive a vast range of case studies from cities of different countries about the contradictions of public spaces renovation on liveability and inequalities in contemporary cities, to promote a collective reflexion on justice in urban space policies.


Dr. Angela Giglia , Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana – Iztapalapa, Mexico City