Segregated Space of the Public Sphere

Our readings this week have brought up interesting questions regarding “public space” in the city- can the public claim space in the city, and is a space ever really public? In the case of the People’s Park viewed conjointly with Hutchinson’s Waiting Bus, it seems both authors are touching on a similar concept of segregation within so-called public zones, and the displacement of these groups which can occur with policy intervention. The homeless in the case of the People’s Park had made usefulness of the public space of the park, but are deems an ‘inappropriate’ public. Hutchinson’s reading is an interesting juxtaposition- we see a similar marginalization of the riders of the MTA in the considerations of government policy, though the MTA strikes bringing scores of low income riders onto the highways of Los Angeles overloading the freeways and made it quite apparent that the automobile culture of greater Los Angeles is dependent on public transit. This brings up an interesting question- in order for “public” space to function, must it remain segregated? Is it necessary that a public park where the homeless congregate cannot be the same as a public university park, or the bus system serve the low income groups of commuters? What are the dangers of this type of segregation of public space?