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Article
Constructing the Sidewalk: Municipal Government and the Production of Public Space in Los Angeles
Journal of Historical Geography (2007)
  • Renia Ehrenfeucht, University of New Orleans
  • Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris
Abstract
The process of creating public spaces has been one of defining what constitutes public activities and how they can occur. This was as true for the sidewalks as for spaces such as the roadbed, parks and markets. The sidewalks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were used for commercial, political and social activities. During this period, the Los Angeles municipal government and urban residents constructed hundreds of miles of sidewalks along with other street improvements. In response to differing claims to the sidewalks and varying interests in the purpose of the streets, the city began to emphasize pedestrian circulation and through its process, the pedestrian was defined as the public for which the sidewalks were provided. As sidewalks were legally defined as public ways, the more clearly and narrowly the notion of the public was construed, and fewer activities had guaranteed access. In this paper, we explore different types of claims to sidewalks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.We discuss sidewalk provision, abutters’ use and responsibility, and the regulation of commercial and speech activities. The examination of municipal response to conflicting demands by property owners,merchants, political and charitable organizations, and other interested parties about sidewalk use helps us to better understand the process by which public space and public activities were defined.
Keywords
  • sidewalks,
  • municipal regulation,
  • Los Angeles,
  • public space
Publication Date
2007
Citation Information
Renia Ehrenfeucht and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris. "Constructing the Sidewalk: Municipal Government and the Production of Public Space in Los Angeles" Journal of Historical Geography Vol. 33 Iss. 1 (2007)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/renia_ehrenfeucht/8/