Park spaces : leisure, culture and modernity - a Glasgow case study
The importance of a critical understanding of space in contemporary social scientific enquiry is increasingly recognised as fundamental for the analysis of the development, enlargement and experience of modern capitalism. In particular, the concentration of forces and relations of production, circulation and consumption, of people, commodities and services, is progressively appreciated as achieved through the creation and exploitation of urban space. The thesis presents a critical examination of a variety of theories of space and spatial theories as a foundation for the analysis of urban modernity. These include the works of Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey, Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau and Georg Simmel. The syncretic adaptation of these formative theoretical analyses provides a conceptual framework for the subsequent substantive analysis of a case study of specific forms of modern urban social space. That is, an exploration of the processes by which the origins and development of what came to be integral features of the landscape of the modern city were produced, namely, the creation of the social spaces of public parks. The growth and increasing importance of the city in the 19th century had important social as well as economic and political consequences for the development and administration of the infrastructure and experience of the urban environment. The physical and mental, medical as well as moral consequences of city development led to campaigns to improve the condition of the urban population that provoked a response by the local state. One prominent aspect of this municipal commitment was the development of urban public parks as an ameliorative response. Glasgow’s experience of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in the 19th century and the particular conditions that arose led to a specific form of municipal government that produced a network of public parks that was unrivalled by any other city. The investigation and analysis of the production of municipal public parks in the city of Glasgow in the period from the early 1850s to the late 1970s gives detailed consideration to a large number and variety of empirical sources to deliver an historical, sociological and geographic account of the complexity involved in the analysis of such commonplace everyday spaces as public parks. As such, the investigation of parks as social spaces constructed, depicted and used for leisure and recreation contributes to the understanding of the development and experience of urban modernity, as well as to contemporary socio-spatial analysis.