Critical Processes in Public Spaces

October 12, 2017

In a place like New York City, residential and public space are both so scarce that residents “rent” social time at bars, cafes, and cultural institutions. Shopping, which became a quintessential American pastime of postwar culture, remains a dominant way of using the city. But as purchases come to depend less on in-person transactions, brands are pivoting towards driving sales through aspirational experiences where the store becomes a more flexible backdrop for performing identity.

New strategies for branded space necessarily harness real estate, consumer spending, and cultural production to the mechanics of social media platforms. It’s worth thinking critically about these processes in order to better approach how both brands and people are renegotiating a public sphere—one that is reproduced by audiences more and more fluidly distributed between offline and online “spaces.”

(The Atlantic)

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