“Defined in the Past, Designed in the Present”: Revitalization and Tinkering with Spatial Scripts at Lansdowne Park

By Debra Mackinnon and Steven Richardson.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 6, 2017 Free Download

With a 140-year history of fairs, exhibitions, sporting events, and concerts at Lansdowne Park, the City of Ottawa, in partnership with commercial, residential, and community stakeholders, began its revitalization in 2012. Re-opened to the public in Fall 2014, the “New” Lansdowne Park promises something for everyone—blending luxury consumer goods, sport, and entertainment with notions of sustainable development, locality, and modern aesthetics. Yet, beneath this marketed exuberance resides the use of the space as it is experienced. Visitors, residents, and workers alike engage in continuous processes of redefining and remaking the vitality of space—indications that revitalization is not simply the scripting of space or social practice. Instead, we argue that it is more precise to describe vitalization as a process of iterative remaking that calls into question “revitalized for whom or what?” In view of this goal, this paper draws upon news media, business publications, participant observation, and interviews to trace the use of space as it unfolds and shapes Lansdowne Park. In doing so, we contribute to discussions of urban planning, revitalization, and contesting urban futures.

Keywords: Critical Urban Theory, Revitalization, Urban Space

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.45-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 6, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.714MB)).

Debra Mackinnon

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Steven Richardson

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada