Geographer David Harvey talks about public space, common ownership and his view of the new “smart city” economies.
The eminent geographer David Harvey was interviewed for "Shared Spaces" on 14 November 2016, after giving the talk "Culture and Cities: The Challenge of Tourism", which was programmed as one of the inauguration events of L' Alternativa Festival. In his brief interview, Professor Harvey expressed his doubts about the use of the term “public space”, which is excessively marked by the fact of being regulated by the state. He prefers the idea of the “urban common”, a political concept referring to a free and maximally open space. Similarly, he stresses the need for common ownership structures in the surrounds of public projects in order to prevent the perverse situation of increasing the value of nearby private property, as often happens with improvements resulting from public investment. In Harvey’s view, the economy is “crazy”, and he illustrates his statement by referring to the automobile industry. He is also sceptical about the capacity for job creation of the new economies based on the smart city.
David Harvey’s favourite public space is Washington Square in New York, for the simple reason that all kinds of things can be going on at once in its different corners.