Public order

From Academic Kids

In urban planning, the notion of "public order" refers a city containing relatively empty (and orderly) spaces; which allow for flexibility in redesiging the city's layout; such perceptions played an important role in the establishments of suburbs. According to this point-of-view, the traditional notion of a "downtown" is often seen as disorderly.

The creation of new streets, de-intensification of the same, particularly by creating enclosed streets is another way to impose order on cities. This has been done in many cities, most notably perhaps in Paris in the 19th century. This is known as boulevardization (or Haussmannization after Baron Haussmann who was in charge with Paris' regeneration).

Recently such massive regeneration schemes have been critiszed as they constitute an imposition of bourgeois values on all the city. The same is criticized of contemporary city redevelopments where middle-class values are imposed.

For many urban planners movement and heterogeneity as opposed to settlement and homogeneity are considered as disorder. Many schemes, such as slum clearance aim at removing this perceived disorder. Critics argue that this disorder is not diorderly as such, but constitues a different order.

Government intervention in the form of urban planning is not the only means to create order in cities. Spatial divisions that are often perceived as orderly can be created by markets, regulation and cultural affinity. Markets means that certain areas are more expensive and thus segregate space in terms that many people are simply priced out. Regulation is the intervention by officials. Cultural affinity refers to the fact that people from many cultural groups cluster together. This can be along lines of religion, language, home country, sexuality or occupation. It has been suggested that this last mechanism is a means to find protection from the perceived disorderly city elsewhere. These three mechanisms of division often overlap.

See also: social order.

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