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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Public Space Praxis: Cultural Capacity and Political Efficacy in Latina/o Placemaking

  • Author(s): Rios, Michael
  • et al.

Public space has increasingly become a critical issue in American urbanism. This article examines how the act of Latina/o identity formation in public spaces of American metropolises contain the possibility of new democratic formations. The evidence of Latino/a heritage and culture in spatial interventions, appropriations and practices are a type of place-making activity. This identity-based spatial practice harnesses public participation and carves out spaces for democratic interventions in the city. By focusing on the value of culture as a political capacity, Rios exposes a set of case studies centered around three types of spaces– adaptive, assertive, and negotiative – along a continuum to discuss different ways Latina/ os make group claims in the city and whereupon cultural identity becomes a usable resource for community development practice and local urban policy.

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