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12 December 2014

“Security measures ... often impoverish the urban experience”

Interview with Pete Fussey

The English criminologist and sociologist talks about security measures in public space. He believes these are necessary but warns that they also place barriers between different types of people and can even impoverish urban experience.


[English │ Duration: 00:02:10]

Shared Spaces was able to speak with the urban sociologist Pete Fussey in May 2013 when he visited the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) to take part in the panel discussion “The State of Surveillance: Big Brother, Little Sister and Uncle Sam”, which was part of the seminar series “The State of Surveillance: Technology and Social Control in the ‘Smart City’”.

In the interview, Fussey explains that London – where he lives – is often dubbed “one of the most heavily watched and surveillanced cities in the world”. He says, that with regard to “security measures in public space, there is an obvious function and need in some circumstances” but “mainly they exist to place borders between different types of people”.

He also holds that “security measures ... often impoverish the urban experience” because surprise, unexpectedness and the mixture of different types of people are “a great sign of vitality” in cities.

He then goes on to describe Victoria Park in East London as his favourite public space. East London is “a place of vitality and transition” and the park, conceived a hundred and thirty years ago, “based very much on the kind of progressive notions of the city”, is a place where “people from different social classes, ages, ethnicity and lifestyles can mix freely”.


Ferran Muñoz Jofre
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Translation: Julie Wark.

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