Contested spaces: who belongs on the street where you live – The Conversation

Extract from an article by Cate MacMillan and Nicholas Stevens

This is the second article in our Contested Spaces series. These pieces look at the conflicting uses, expectations and norms that people bring to public spaces, the clashes that result and how we can resolve these.


Our neighbourhoods need to be safe and inclusive places – safe for even the most vulnerable in our community. This includes the 668,100 Australians living with intellectual disability.

With the right support, these adults, who account for 2.9% of the population (up from 2.6% in 2009), can have independent and meaningful lives in a regular house or apartment. The main issue is not the type of accommodation, but its location. The neighbourhood, its design, and the community of people who live there are all significant factors for supporting safety and inclusion.

Yet neighbourhoods are complex and contested spaces. Communities and individuals assemble sets of exclusionary values and expectations of the kinds of people and behaviours within them. Our perceptions of desirable streets are now so intertwined with property values and social status that we have very little tolerance of change.

This collective socialisation and the strength or relative weakness of a neighbourhood’s social networks all influence the environment and outcomes for existing and new residents…(continues)

SOURCE: Cate MacMillan and Nicholas Stevens, “Contested spaces: who belongs on the street where you live”, The Conversation, 06 March 2017

Link to full article

BroCAP is produced by the two librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia.

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