Zukin, S (1995), ‘Whose Culture? Whose City?’ in The Cultures of Cities. London. Blackwell.

The symbolic Economy

A large number of public spaces owe their form and  shape to the entwining of cultural symbols. ‘Building a city depends on how people combine the traditional economic factors of land, labour and capital.’ (Zukin, 1995). They also depend on how the cities look and feel reflect who and what should be able to be seen. Disney suggests the symbolic economy unifies labour, finance, art performance and design. We can’t speak about cities today without considering three key ideas.

  • How the power of culture is related to the aesthetics of fear.
  • How cities use culture as an economic base.
  • How capitialising on culture spills over into the privatisation and militarisation of public space.

Security, Ethnicity and Culture

Everyday fear plays a large role in a cities culture, and security. The dangers of being in public spaces such as assaults, random violence and hate crimes that target specific groups completely destroy the idea of open space.  The elderly specifically who live within these cities commonly experience fear as an erosion of these spaces due to these factors. It is difficult to prevent this as the idea of a public space is to invite everyone to enjoy it and it is difficult to privatise and tailor these spaces. ‘Despite the real improverishment of most urban populations the larger issue is weather cities can again create an inclusive public culture.'(Zukin, 1995).

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