Private Public Land - challenging the exclusion of fractions of society from Public space

Melanie Nicol


This article puts forward the Post-Modern ideas that society is fundamentally split into divisions, in contrast to the Modern world view. This is supported by examining how public space, specifically Belmore Park, is used by different groups in our society. Romanticism, Postmodernism, and Post Modern Political theory are utilised to help criticise the exclusion of homelessness and those committing illicit activities in Belmore park, as well as the defintion of the public and progress. The reactions to the changes of Belmore Park highlight that there is no objective truth, no unifying values which creates a common “General Public” or “One-ness, and that progress is indeed relative.

The thesis was reached after many observation sessions in Belmore park. Research undertaken included an examination photographs and maps of Belmore Park at various stages throughout it’s history (including the present), extensive background research into secondary materials about how the public use space to aid observation sessions and collection of various Council Management Plans in recent years of Belmore Park.

The article challenges Modern ideology, particularly that of progress, the unified one, and the common value system. This ideology is present in the Town Planners intended function and use of the site. However, in the pursuit of progress, the site was encroached upon and drasticallly altered, changing permanently it’s patronage. Belmore Park now has a link with illcit activity. Councils have reacted by creating exclusion policies that are contrary to the assertion of a unified encompassing general public. The article challenges the value system which allowed this exclusion, concluding that a pluralist approach were all voices were equal is preferential.

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