<body> Public Ad Campaign: Sharon Zukin-The Cultures of Cities
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Sharon Zukin-The Cultures of Cities

I posted on Sharon Zukin's book The Cultures of Cities a long time back. Within the first few pages I had found ideas I needed to share and that hasn't stopped as I have made my way through the rest of the book. Now that I am nearing the end, I thought it appropriate to share one last quote which talks about how our public culture can be viewed through the lens of our public spaces. In many ways our shared public space is a manifestation of who we are collectively, and that is why I have such issues with the burden outdoor advertising places on our public space and therefor public identity. As it infiltrates our public space it defines our public identity.
"Public spaces are the primary site of public culture; they are a window into the city's soul. As a sight, moreover, public spaces are an important means of framing a vision of social life in the city, a vision both for those who live there, and interact in urban public spaces every day, and for the tourists, commuters, and wealthy folks who are free to flee the city's needy embrace. Public spaces are important because they are places where strangers mingle freely. But they are also important because they continually negotiate the boundaries and markers of human society. As both site and sight, meeting place and social staging ground, public spaces enable us to conceptualize and represent the city - to make an ideology of its receptivity to strangers, tolerance of difference, and opportunities to enter a fully socialized life, both civic and commercial."

"We can understand what is happening to public culture today if we look at what is happening to public spaces."

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