What the built environment does to people: the lack of public spaces and democracy in the district of Los Olivos

Public spaces are essential to city life. Public spaces are places such as plazas, parks, streets lined with things to do, where people can see other people. “Others” are not just family and neighbors, but moreover people one would not normally see in one’s own area of residence, including people from different socioeconomic backgrounds or from areas of the city different from ours. Public spaces are thus central for people to become accustomed to seeing strangers and developing a sense of diversity and civic congeniality. The district of Los Olivos (Lima, Peru) has developed as an up-and-coming residential neighborhood with lots of parks but with no real public spaces. In this article, I explore how this affects public life and people's high sense of danger and lack of public security.

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