Introduction The newly designed urban spaces and the modern architectures that can be found in city centres and in regenerated, high-end areas of the city reflect the wants and interests of the mainstream society in which they are embedded. Depending on what societal groups with decision-making powers need or want to do in such city areas, urban spaces (such as squares, city parks and parking lots) and buildings are assigned a particular function by urban planners and city administrators. Urban public spaces can be designed as residential, shopping, leisure, entertainment and business areas or incorporate a multitude of such functions. The way powerful groups see and wish to experience the redesigned or modern urban spaces influences the formation of expectations of how individuals should behave and appear within them. In other words, on the basis of the image or idea of specific urban zones that people with political capital have, the expectations are formed as to how such spaces should ‘properly’ be used by others and how individuals should conduct themselves and look in them. Such spatial representations (and the resulting societal expectations for that space) are also influenced by, and mediated through, cultural factors.