The Privatization of the Public Realm: Downtown San Diego and the Commercialization of Public Space

March 9, 2010
DOI: 10.4016/16506.01

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Urban Expo 2010
Key findings:
The changing functionality of public domain and the physical encroachment of privatization into public space have led to a mixed bag of results on the Gaslamp Quarter’s 5th Avenue. While physically decreasing the available public space for general purpose and use, privatization of the public sidewalks through sidewalk cafes has generally increased the functionality of the public space. Walkability has not been truly hampered in terms of traditional standards and the sidewalk cafes have generally created a sense of place for a downtown community not long ago removed from less than ideal conditions. Private-public partnership between the community’s business owners and the local governmental entities has created a setting for revival and continued growth for the Downtown San Diego community.
With the opening of PETCO Park in 2004, and reinvestment within the community, Downtown San Diego has turned from a blighted community into a... » More

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