In cities around the world people use a variety of public spaces to relax, to protest, to buy and sell, to experiment and to celebrate. Loose Space explores the many ways that urban residents, with creativity and determination, appropriate public space to meet their own needs and desires. Familiar or unexpected, spontaneous or planned, momentary or long-lasting, the activities that make urban space loose continue to give cities life and vitality.

The book examines physical spaces and how people use them. Contributors discuss a wide range of recreational, commercial and political activities; some are conventional, others are more experimental. Some of the activities occur alongside the intended uses of planned public spaces, such as sidewalks and plazas; other activities replace former uses, as in abandoned warehouses and industrial sites. The thirteen case studies, international in scope, demonstrate the continuing richness of urban public life that is created and sustained by urbanites themselves

  • Presents a fresh way of looking at urban public space, focusing on its positive uses and aspects.
  • Comprises 13 detailed, well-illustrated case studies based on sustained observation and research by social scientists, architects and urban designers.
  • Looks at a range of activities, both everyday occurrences and more unusual uses, in a variety of public spaces -- planned, leftover and abandoned.
  • Explores the spatial and the behavioral; considers the wider historical and social context.
  • Addresses issues of urban research, architecture, urban design and planning.
  • Takes a broad international perspective with cases from New York, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Guadalajara, Athens, Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Bangkok, Kandy, Buffalo, and the North of England.


chapter |33 pages

Tying Down Loose Space

ByKaren A. Franck, Quentin Stevens

part |58 pages


chapter |16 pages

Found Spaces

Freedom of Choice in Public Life
ByLeanne G. Rivlin

chapter |19 pages

Open-Ended Space

Urban Streets in Different Cultural Contexts
ByNisha A. Fernando

chapter |20 pages

Betwixt and Between

Building Thresholds, Liminality and Public Space
ByQuentin Stevens

part |77 pages


chapter |17 pages

Urban Appropriation and Loose Spaces in the Guadalajara Cityscape

ByBernardo Jiménez-Domínguez

chapter |19 pages

Urban Slippage

Smooth and Striated Streetscapes in Bangkok
ByKim Dovey, Kasama Polakit

chapter |22 pages

Transforming Public Space into Sites of Mourning and Free Expression

ByKaren A. Franck, Lynn Paxson

part |59 pages


chapter |19 pages

Heterotopias and the Experience of Porous Urban Space

ByStavros Stavrides

chapter |17 pages

Stalker on Location

ByPeter T. Lang

chapter |20 pages

Dead Zones, Outdoor Rooms and the Architecture of Transgression

ByGil M. Doron

part |58 pages


chapter |18 pages

Unruly and Robust

An Abandoned Industrial River
ByLynda H. Schneekloth

chapter |18 pages

Patterns of the Unplanned

Urban Catalyst
ByPhilipp Oswalt, Misselwitz Philipp, Klaus Overmeyer