Blumenberg E, Ehrenfeucht R, 2008, "Civil liberties and the regulation of public space: the case of sidewalks in Las Vegas" Environment and Planning A 40(2) 303 – 322
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Civil liberties and the regulation of public space: the case of sidewalks in Las Vegas
Evelyn Blumenberg, Renia Ehrenfeucht
Received 11 December 2004; in revised form 17 March 2006
Abstract. Conflicts over the nature of and rights associated with public space have a long history and have prompted numerous regulatory responses. Perhaps nowhere in the USA has the regulation of public space been as far-reaching as in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the financial stakes associated with sidewalks are enormous. This study examines how local officials mediate among varied and competing uses of the sidewalk. In defining the function of the sidewalks narrowly, and passively deferring questions of civil liberties, local officials have effectively controlled almost all aspects of public behavior. In recent years, cities have invested in major commercial revitalization projects. Evidence from this case study suggests that, if successful, these developments will engender more extensive regulation of public life and the further curtailment of the freedoms traditionally guaranteed to citizen activity in public places.
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