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The Street As Public Space

cities, publics, and urbanism

In each of these cases, I would argue that the street, the urban street, as public space is to be differentiated from the classic European notion of more ritualized spaces for public activity, with the piazza and the boulevard the emblematic European instances. I think of the space of “the street,” which of course includes squares and any available open space, as a rawer and less ritualized space. The Street is a space where new forms of the social and the political can be made, rather than a space for enacting ritualized routines. With some conceptual stretching, we might say that politically “street and square” are marked differently from “boulevard and piazza”: the first signals action, and the second, ritual.

Saskia Sassen: The Global Street Comes to Wall Street

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