Cover image for The public realm : exploring the city's quintessential social territory
Title:
The public realm : exploring the city's quintessential social territory
Author:
Lofland, Lyn H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hawthorne, N.Y. : Aldine de Gruyter, 1998.
Physical Description:
xix, 305 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
Toward a geography and history of the public realm -- The normative or "legal" system: patterns and principles -- The relational web: persons, places, connections -- A city "garden of earthly delights": esthetic and interactional pleasures -- Antiurbanism and the representational war on the public realm -- Fear, loathing, and personal privatism -- Control by design: the architectural assault on the public realm -- Uses of the public realm.
ISBN:
9780202306070

9780202306087
Format :
Book

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Material Type
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Status
Central Library HT151 .L6 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

This book is about the "public realm," defined as a particular kind of social territory that is found almost exclusively in large settlements. This particular form of social-psychological space comes into being whenever a piece of actual physical space is dominated by relationships between and among persons who are strangers to one another, as often occurs in urban bars, buses, plazas, parks, coffee houses, streets, and so forth. More specifically, the book is about the social life that occurs in such social-psychological spaces (the normative patterns and principles that shape it, the relationships that characterize it, the aesthetic and interactional pleasures that enliven it) and the forces (anti-urbanism, privatism, post-war planning and architecture) that threaten it. The data upon which the book's analysis is based are diverse: direct observation; interviews; contemporary photographs, historic etchings, prints and photographs, and historical maps; histories of specific urban public spaces or spatial types; and the relevant scholarly literature from sociology, environmental psychology, geography, history, anthropology, and architecture and urban planning and design. Its central argument is that while the existing body of accomplished work in the social sciences can be reinterpreted to make it relevant to an understanding of the public realm, this quintessential feature of city life deserves much more #65533; it deserves to be the object of direct scholarly interest in its own right. Choice noted that: "The author's writing style is unusually accessible, and the often fascinating narrative is generously supported by well-chosen photos."


Author Notes

Lyn Loffland is an American sociologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco. She worked as a social worker early in her professional career and later taught sociology at the University of California at Davis. She is best known for her work on the study of human relations in urban society. Her now classic study, "A World of Strangers" (1973), stressed the importance of spatial arrangements for human communication and interaction in cities.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this wide-ranging contribution to the literature of urban studies, Lofland (sociology, Univ. of California, Davis) impressively synthesizes knowledge from the behavioral sciences, geography, history, architecture, and urban planning and design. His focus is on the social life of urban public territories, "a particular form of social-psychological space [that materializes] whenever a piece of actual physical space is dominated by relationships . . . among strangers." Following an introductory statement on the public realm, Lofland discusses legal issues, interpersonal relations, design aesthetics, antiurbanist attacks, the privatism debate, and the architectural assault on public space, and he offers a thoughtful concluding essay on the value of the public realm. The author's writing style is unusually accessible, and the often fascinating narrative is generously supported by well-chosen photos and other illustrations. Chapter endnotes and the exhaustive 47-page bibliography will be valuable to researchers and practitioners alike. Recommended for collections in sociology, psychology, and anthropology as well as such interdisciplinary fields as urban studies and urban planning. All levels. P. O. Muller; University of Miami


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