Writer and journalist Anna Minton is Reader in Architecture at the University of East London. She is the author of Ground Control, published by Penguin. A regular contributor to The Guardian newspaper, she writes about cities, housing, democracy and public space.
The public sphere is reflected both in the cultural realm of public life and the physical spaces of the city where the production of space and place reflects socio-economic and political realities. This is resulting in increasingly controlled and undemocratic public spaces, yet it is also possible for gatherings of people to push back at these processes by reclaiming public space—and therefore public life. This is a process that can work but often fails, so while it may sometimes appear to be no more than a fiction, it is also essential to any rebooting of democracy.