Animation or denigration? Using urban public spaces as event venues

Smith, A. (2017) Animation or denigration? Using urban public spaces as event venues. Event Management, 21 (5). pp. 609-619. ISSN 1525-9951

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City events are increasingly staged outside purpose built venues in urban public spaces. Parks, streets and squares have always been used for civic events, but there is now pressure to use them for a wider range of occasions including large-scale, ticketed events. This paper identifies why this trend is occurring and outlines the implications for public spaces. The use of London’s parks as venues for music festivals, elite sport events, and trade exhibitions is the main focus of the paper. These events challenge the established notions of what public parks are for. Noted positive effects include challenging the rather stiff character of Victorian parks and encouraging different users / uses. However ticketed events restrict access to parks and various processes currently afflicting urban public spaces - privatisation, commercialisation and securitisation - are exacerbated when parks are used as event venues. These effects are often dismissed as inherently temporary, but staging events can have enduring effects on the provision and accessibility of public space. The paper concludes that staging events in public spaces is increasingly driven by a neoliberal agenda, with place marketing and revenue generation key priorities. This needs to be more fully acknowledged in analyses of the eventful city.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parks, London, Privatisation, Commercialisation, Festivals, Cities;
Subjects: University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment
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Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2017 12:54
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2018 13:48

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