A public city: Concepts of space and the local state

Andrew Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper outlines a framework for the analysis of the provision of public services in urban areas: The public city. Two interwoven concepts are discussed. The first of these relates to the nature of space. A brief review suggests that philosophical disputes overlook the explicit organization of space within jurisdictional units, a key factor in the provision of consumption goods. These areas, which can be identified as local state units, can be rationalized in various ways: neoclassical, liberal, and materialist interpretations have been identified within the literature. This paper argues that the local state cannot be discussed simply within the context of capitalist social relations, and that more detailed interpretations, incorporating concepts such as civil society, are necessary in order to understand the broad range of political activities associated with public provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'A public city: Concepts of space and the local state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this