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Between the Public and the Private Territorial Change of the Public Realm
Political geographers argue that the components of state, i.e. territory, people and sovereign authority, must be in place before any specific form of regime could possibly begin to operate. In general this is commonly accepted in international affairs. However, this may not be analogous to community affairs because territory, community members and the sense of community are interactive and intertwined. Geographical factors may no longer be able to predetermine the boundaries of a community, particularly in an urban area. It is difficult to distinguish the public realm from the private. The public realm may invade the private realm, and vice versa. When it comes to participation, the question that bothers geographers most is perhaps who the people are. The paper argues that new discourses may result in different interpretations of the nature of a community and its territory and people. In the case of the expansion of the public realm, it is only acceptable in a democracy that the action is accountable in the public interest. Innovation of the re-definition of the public interest is in itself a territorial change. Decisions about who is entitled to be involve are normally made in the real-politik, which makes the forming of public space a political process. The paper documents a political process of place-making by introducing a case study: Di-hua street’s case. The dialectical relationship mentioned above was examined. Public realm was not fixed and the geo-public realm phenomenon excluded some people from participation in the case. Different actors proposed different discourses in this case and new public space has been formed accordingly. The paper concludes that it is power that accounts for the process of place-making.
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