Who owns public space? Many would argue that such space belongs to the public, and that all should feel comfortable. However, because government entities are allying themselves with private entities, more rules are being placed on areas that are funding by taxpayers. While it may appear as though people of means are sharing their resources with the rest of constituents, there is an air of exclusion slowly pressing into many of the metropolitan areas throughout the United States.
Crowdfunding for public goods has become popular to fill in the gaps left by overstretched constituents, and can lead to paying off hospital bills, traveling to see distant relatives, and even disaster relief. Unfortunately, gathering a group of people together to pay for something can lead to further disparity by those who have more money to increase their contribution. For example, all elections are supposedly “crowdfunded,” and it took a Supreme Court ruling to give permission to incorporated entities to offer campaign contributions. The sad reality is that those with the most resources can afford to withhold them when their “needs” are not being met.
Proximity concessions mean that those who are closest to those in authority are those who are most heard for public decisions. Most meetings are held during the day because of the industrialized work week of Monday through Friday, 8:00am until 5:00pm. Those who have flexible schedules can not only participate in the public meetings and become familiar with the offices, but are the first heard when making decisions which affect all citizenry. Without acknowledging it, government entities become socially acclimated to those who can afford to be ever present, and consistently neglect voices that cannot easily access their government.
All inhabitants make up the flavor of each community in theory, but in practice, the advantaged populations are displacing those who fail to fall in line. Many cities are developing a homogeneous appearance based on the whims of elite, which can decide whether franchises cover an area or if fanciful boutiques vie for the attention of the fortunate. At some point, government bodies will be forced to self-examine, and conclude that communities belong to all, not just those who can control the megaphone of capital.