Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Loose Space

Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life, 1st Edition

Edited by Karen Franck, Quentin Stevens


320 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415701174
pub: 2006-10-27
Hardback: 9780415701167
pub: 2006-11-06
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203799574
pub: 2006-10-16
from $33.98

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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.


'What the collection draws attention to is the growing interest in the cultural importance of urban fringes and terrains … there are challenging ideas in these essays, and the issues raised are timely and indeed urgent.' - Green Places

'A fascinating book … contrasts with more traditional urban design texts.' - Urban Design

Table of Contents

Tying Down Loose Space Appropriation Found Spaces: Freedom of Choice in Public Life.Open-Ended Space: Urban Streets in Two Cultural Contexts. Betwixt and Between: Building Thresholds, Liminality and Public Space Tension Urban Appropriation and Loose Spaces in the Guadalajara Cityscape. Urban Slippage: Smooth and Striated Streetscapes in Bangkok. Transforming Public Space into Sites of Mourning and Free Expression. Central Park: The Aesthetics of Order and the Appearance of Looseness Resistance Heterotopias and the Experience of Porous Space. Stalker on Location. Dead Zones, Outdoor Rooms and the Architecture of Transgression Discovery Social Practices, Sensual Excess and Aesthetic Transgression in Industrial Ruins.Unruly and Robust: An Abandoned Industrial River.Patterns of the Unplanned. Annotated Bibliography

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban