This article focuses on the relationship between ‘reappropriating’ and ‘republicising’ the urban space by spotlighting its resources and some intrinsic ambivalences, too. On one hand, we analyse how reappropriation practices can interrupt a production of spaces that was taken for granted, thus combating, albeit often unwittingly, the attempts to engender social exclusion and an growing emptiness in public spaces. On the other, we highlight how, in various cases, reappropriation practices succeed in creating not ‘publicness’ but exclusive, excluding or community spaces. The essay analyses a range of issues from the role of cultural enterprise in the regeneration of urban public spaces to the relationship between public space and public sphere and that between spatial practices and institutional powers.
Keywords: Public space; reappropriation; publicness