It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
When you first apply to join the forum, you will have to wait a while to be approved. Just be patient.

Once you are a member, don't forget to check the calendar(s) for session times. Sessions are held on different platforms, so be sure to find out where the session will take place:-

Speaking Practice

LEN English sessions:-

Listening Practice 24/7

English radio playlists on Discord.

AM/PM Session - 15 August 2017 - The privatisation of public space

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
We read an article about the trend of public spaces being bought by private companies:


Vocabulary Top 10:

insidious - causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed

pseudo - not real or genuine

benign - not causing harm or damage; mild and pleasant

inert - unable to move; moving or acting very slowly

dystopia - an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly; opposite of utopia

supersede - to take the place of (someone or something that is old, no longer useful, etc.) : to replace (someone or something)

privatisation - to remove (something) from government control and place it in private control or ownership

austerity - a situation in which there is not much money and it is spent only on things that are necessary

livid - very angry

shudder - to shake because of fear, cold, etc

Do you think it´s ok for companies to own these public spaces?


  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,878 ✭✭✭✭✭
    To be honest, it is annoying to read his opinions of public spaces and I can't blindly agree with him on that. However I do agree with him on one point that the sell-offs of the public places should be informed and open to the public. First of all, he said 'Public space is a right, not a privilege.' and 'We expect public spaces are free, open and available when we need them.' Yeah, I agree, but only under the awareness of citizen responsibility. Do you notice the public places are littered with trash or people walk their dogs but don't pick up poo? Most people take public places for granted. They think they can do anything there- the freedom to do “what ever you want”, but actually abuse these places in the name of right. That's to say, I don't think privatization of public spaces is either a bad thing or a good thing. Because they are privately owned, those companies clean those places and put them under surveillance, meaning it could reduce crime.

    Second, the author keeps saying that we can't protest at a public place at will. Well, is it really that important to protest? I mean if we really want to have a call to action in something, there must be more efficient way to do it. Besides, occupy protests costs taxpayers and cities a lot. Frankly speaking, I am really not so fancy about protest, because protest always followed with violence. In fact, it's not because I don't support the demands of the protesters, but I don't believe protesting is the way to go as it doesn't solve anything. Furthermore, sometimes protests are taken advantage by some specific people such as political parties.

    Third, we have to think why the property owners refuse to post what 'rules' are enforced on those privately owned public places. Actually, I think what you need to do is to ask permission before you do something. Even it means you might have to negotiate with those companies again and again until you get the permission. It's like we claim our right when someone trespasses our property or is being aggressive. It's not easy to set the whole ideal rules, because some people would use this to say you didn't say we can't do this.

    Forth, multinational property companies. It seems that the author is afraid companies coming from different countries invade their nation.

    He said we should be angry at five points: 1. these sell-offs are affecting the poor and the young 2. not getting a tax rebate 3. pseudo-public spaces are bad for local business. 4. your city is becoming increasingly dull with each redevelopment. Before we nod our head, we should make somethings clear. If the poor and the young has nowhere to go, I think it's our responsibility for that, not those privately owned public places companies.

    This author has been promoting this idea, against the privatization of the public spaces, for years. I read one of his other articles. "..., the place was filled with hundreds of people,... Some were conducting open-air aerobics classes, others were selling barbecued corn from rolling carts, a few people were air-drying laundry and many were just milling about on foot or scooters. I even met a child taking a bath in a bucket..." He thinks that the public places in London lack of that kind of energy. Are you kidding me? I don't expect me or other people to do those things in a public place. The public place is not our home. We are not living in the ancient period anymore. If someone starts to occupy a place, some might argue I don't have enough space to carry on my own business.

    Above of all, Just remember before you want to enjoy your right at public places, ask yourself first do I join the communal activities of cleaning streets or public places regularly.

    Er, I'm thinking too much and my head is spinning like it's going to explode. I'll talk it later when my mind is made up....
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    Wow @Shiny03 , you are really passionate about this subject! And you made some really good points about our beliefs about public spaces - maybe we should rethink what we expect to be able to do in them, and what our responsibility is to maintain them.

    Perhaps it is our right to have public spaces, but it´s also our responsibility to look after them - and if we don´t, maybe we don´t have to right to complain when they are given to people who will look after them.

    Let´s see what everyone else thinks:
    @RaraAvis @Ninna @filauzio @Rema @dope @Just-Learn @april @pratyushbat @cleberamaral @Reem

    Does anyone know Sara and Sara Netherland´s names on the forum? Please tag them if you do!
  • Shiny03Shiny03 Posts: 2,878 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2017
    @NatashaT hmm... I am not passionate about this subject. I'm passionate about your session and any articles you chose. (sweating)

    No kidding. I look just like her....wrinkle, plump, brunette....
  • RemaRema Posts: 1,151 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @NatashaT Sara's Forum name is @saraal, but don't know for Sara Netherlands.
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    lol @Shiny03 maybe I need to find more articles where you disagree with the author then to get you to speak more? And write more, too! :D
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I got knocked with the comment by @Shiny03, very passionate and rich of witty points, I enjoyed reading it.

    When I think of public spaces, I think of something like the agora, the term referring to the place where people assembled in ancient Greece. Assembling what for ? For making up their own thought and take decisions, as saying to make politics.

    On the contrary, when I think of private places, I think of single owners, company or individual, who can't but campaigning for their own interest; it sounds like marketing or regime.

    @Shiny03 wrote about citizen responsability as regard to disrespectful behaviour when enjoying their staying and strolling in public spaces. I agree that, for instance, dogs walkers should always pick up the poo and having thir dogs on leash; I add here, that they should dispose of the excrement by throwing it in properly supplied bins, not in those bins settled for generic trash. This way, they would also prevent garbage collectors from suffering potential hygienic injury.
    Nevertheless, you can simply do away with all that, by fining individuals who break the rule, that's all.
    I wouldn't like being told that, since a few individuals keep breaking the rule, then, as a contrasting measure, the council will privatise the place.
    Any citizens should be held responsible for their own actions, right, but any communities shouldn't be held responsible for any individual's fault.

    @Shiny03 also wrote: ' ... Second, the author keeps saying that we can't protest at a public place at will. Well, is it really that important to protest? I mean if we really want to have a call to action in something, there must be more efficient way to do it... '

    I'm wondering what would have been of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, in Beijing, China, wouldn't have been possible, for the demonstrators, to assemble in a public space. Maybe, they could have asked the guards of the privately owned place, whether their rules included the possibility of a protest against the regime. I'm not so sure about the positive reply though.

    As for the socials as an effective way to communicate and organize protests I have some doubts. The socials work as long as the internet is on; wouldn't it be possible for the regime being to switch off the internet ? I'm not that much digital native to give an answer myself here, though.

    To me, the socials seem rather something to make shift with, when the possibility of assembling outdoor is precluded, as it would be during a curfew. Kind of a communication among secluded, due to public spaces sell-off, people.

    Let's preserve our public spaces, they are the genuine places where our collective conscience and thought get their definite shape: that's my idea of democracy.

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    edited August 2017
    I hate privatisation. I've got the feeling that behind a privatisation there is always a kind of intention to get profit as many as possible. Not all of them of course because I hate generalizing too!
    For me, public places are places where anybody can come and enjoy the facilities there, anytime and for free. Like we could say to friends, when the sun is shining, "Let's go the park and have a picnic! Let's enjoy this beautiful weather together and meet other people!"
    And we can go there without any fear that we will be chased by dogs from the owner of that park because it's a private place. We pay our government enough taxes for it, by the way so it's also our privilege to make use of it.
    To be honest, I haven't seen a lot of incoveniences in our park like those Shiny told us.
    There are always respectless people who don't care how to behave in public places. They even let their dogs empty their bowels in front of my door and what can I do? Just cursing and swearing and ... at the end cleaning it. :#
    So, what would you expect!
    Yeah, as long as the sun rises in the morning in the east and sets in the evening in the west we have to accept that good and bad will still exist in our world.
    Sensibilisizing them? Just give them a good example.

    I'm afraid privatisation will create a deeper gap between poor and rich because only people with money could afford this privilege of having their own forest and park and me,... one day maybe I would have to walk 5 km further on to go from one street to the other street because I was not allowed to go through the park as I usual did. I would be a trespasser. Sad. :'(
    We can't be all punished because some people don't behave appropriately, can we?
    Most people have good intention and have respect for each other and for public properties, I believe.

    I have to admit that some castle owners for example let people visit their places ... once a year. :D
    Post edited by april on
  • RaraAvisRaraAvis Posts: 101 ✭✭
    @april I completely agree with you. Really some people don't know where to spend their money, so they are trying to find some other sources of income and grab things and places which don't belong to them. Luckily they haven't put their filthy hands and made a tax on air we all breathe. It's very humiliating and outrageous, you know.
  • zaiymurszaiymurs Posts: 407 ✭✭✭
    I disagree with privatisation, but in some places it have to be that way in order to maintain and preserve the environment and to keep it clean without pollution. In some places, some people at specifically place do not know how to appreciate the beauty of nature, even some reluctant to flush the toilet, what a shame.
This discussion has been closed.