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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Social Processes in the Production of Public Spaces

Calderon, Camilo; Chellero, Lorenzo


Within urban design there is increasing interest in the close relationshipbetween social, economic and political processes and the production of public spaces. Thisrelationship, however, often remains abstract and is rarely illustrated in empirical studies.This paper introduces an institutionalist understanding to the production of public spaces,whereby emphasis is placed on the analysis of structuring forces and actors as a way toapprehend the complexity of the social processes guiding and influencing the planning,design and management of public spaces. The institutionalist understanding is illustratedin the case study of an urban renewal project in Barcelona. The results of the case studyshow the contrasts and tensions between the structuring forces and the different actorsoperating in the project, how structuring forces favoured the interest and claims of someactors over those of others, and the potential risks and challenges that this has for the useand value of the public spaces produced by the project.


public space, urban design, social processes, urban renewal, conflict

Published in

Journal of Urban Design
2013, volume: 18, number: No. 3, pages: 409–428

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Chellero, Lorenzo
Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)