Public art - the making, management and mediation of art outside its conventional location in museums and galleries, and the livable city - a concept involving user-centred strategies for urban planning and design, are both socially produced but have emerged from different fields and tend to be discussed in isolation.
This book applies a range of critical perspectives which have emerged from different disciplines - art criticism, urban design, urban sociology, geography and critical theory - to examine the practice of art for urban public spaces, seeing public art from positions outside those of the art world to ask how it might contribute to possible urban futures. Exploring the diversity of urban politics, the functions of public space and its relation to the structures of power, the roles of professionals and users in the construction of the city, the gendering of space and the ways in which space and citizen are represented, the book explains how these issues are as relevant to architecture, urban design and urban planning as they are to public art. Drawing on a wealth of images from across the UK and Europe and the USA, in particular, the author questions the effectiveness of public art in achieving more convivial urban environments, whilst retaining the idea that imagining possible futures is as much part of a democratic society as using public space.
'While this is set to become a standard text in cultural institutions and art education, it nevertheless contains elements which general readers will find valuable.' - An Magazine, Dec 1997