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This paper gives a detailed analysis of public space. It does this by focusing on how this phenomenon has become common in various areas such as sociology, art, anthropology, and language. Later, it will shift to the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) as one of the public facilities that provides an avenue for social interactions to different people from all corners of the world. The discussing of the historical development and looking at all the significant features of the airport is considered to be the best way to create clarity and make an appealing discussion.
The term public space means different things to different people. As already highlighted, it can be used by the linguists, sociologists and artists in different ways. However, the most comprehensive definition is that it is an open and accessible place to all the people. This may include both the government and privately owned facilities such as the airports, roads, parking lots, schools, colleges, public squares, national parks and public libraries. Despite the fact that the government facilities may be fully open to all the users, the private owners can limit accessibility to theirs. However, this is just a matter of policy and is not meant to prevent these places from serving as social interaction places (Yamakawa, Y. et al., 2009).
The history of the idea of the public space is traced from the West. It was initially used in Britain to refer to public places like church squares, and town centers usually located next to some important art monument which were meant to create some uniqueness. Hence, they were called ‘commons’ just because they would serve as the locations where all the common people were free to use as a socio-political and cultural arena for their unrestricted day to day interactions particularly after the emergence of democracy which gave people an opportunity to express their freedoms without any restriction. Later, this idea spread to the rest of the world.
For instance, in the United States of America (USA), President Roosevelt used the public space to promote interactions between different people. Under this program, the Federal Government introduced the New Deal which produced a lot of public works to help in boosting the economy which was then affected by the economic depression. Later, it was appreciated as one of the best steps that made a significant contribution in improving the quality of life of the Americans (Sharma, R. & Sharma, R., 2002). Surely, this promoted unity in the whole country because it could act as a social interaction for all sorts of the US citizens regardless of their social class.
Even if the public spaces should act as sites for uniting all sorts of people in the society, things have really changed in the recent past. Today, this role is losing value because; they are greatly affected by the rising cases of classism in the community today. Meaning, different people go to different places depending on the social position they hold in the society. The rich and the poor individuals usually tend to go to different places. This makes the traditional use of such places deteriorate. Instead of uniting people, they increase divisions.
Similarly, there has been a change on how these places are used. With lots of privatizations and increased cases of insecurity today, access to public spaces is now greatly restricted. Therefore, some institutions determine who should be allowed to access their premises. At the same time, it is individuals themselves who contribute to this. They may fear going to relax in the pen facilities because of the increasing cases of security. Meaning, people are now shifting from public to private life. They prefer doing most of their things in their homes without necessarily rushing to the city parks which have become highly commercialized (Oldham, J., 2007).
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
I my discussion of public space, I would like to focus on LAX because it is one of the public facilities I am so familiar with. So, it will make my analysis meaningful and help me to give a clear picture of this issue. Personally, I have used this airport a number of times during my journeys to and out of America (Oldham, J., 2007). From this, I have seen its significance as a social interaction facility because it has opened my worldview
The following a re some of the reasons why I consider LAX as a favorable place for public space:
1. Open place
I prefer LAX because it is an open place meant for all the people regardless of their background. In other words, it accepts people from all corners of the world. Everyone including children, adults and the disabled are free to use this facility either for travelling or adventuring purposes.
This is mainly because there are no restrictions guiding its use. Because it is fully managed by the government, the interest of the public is prioritized. As a result of this, all the people gather together and interact in a free atmosphere. This is one of the ways through which people get to learn about different aspect of life such as culture. If people can come together in such a manner, they can also make a lot of friends (Malnic, E., 1988).
2. Public lounges
Lax, just like other places has a lot of restaurants in which people can come together when undertaking their travelling activities to their various destinations. These hotels are well equipped with the necessary facilities like musical systems and television.
All these attract people here. They therefore come to enjoy themselves because the place can help them to have pleasure as they visit it. More importantly, the kinds of music being played there is not for only one culture. However, they consist of different lyrics of reggae, classical and others both from America, Europe, Africa and other continents.
If this is done, everyone will feel appreciated. Therefore, they will comfortably interact with one another without any problem.
3. Airline destinations
According to the official aviation records, LAX is the fifth busiest airport in the world. It has a very huge congest\ion of flights destined to all corners of the world. Some of the major airlines serving here are the American Airlines/American Eagle, United Airlines/United Express and Southwest Airlines. All these take passengers to places like Australia, Asia, Africa, America and Europe. This means that this airport has no geographical boundary. Hence, it is important to say that it is so good because it helps to bring people from all sorts of life together. If it can allow people from all continents to come together, it definitely grants them an opportunity to come and share their experiences as a team. Meaning, travelling together will make them feel equal to each other regardless of their racial background. As result, they will get an opportunity to learn from one another and know that they are all human beings with equal value (Karakayali, N., 2009).
For example, the social distance between the Blacks and whites will be reduced if they come together. This is because; many whites believe that they are more superior to the blacks. So, if they can come together and share a seat in the LAX buses or plains, they will know that they are just the same people. At the same time, the blacks who believe that the whites are extraordinary will know that this is just a perception, but not a reality. If they get the same platform, they will get a chance to chat and discuss about their history, progresses and goals in life. In the long run, they will get challenged from any of them, thus building them strongly.
4. Tight security
One of the reasons for the deterioration of full utilization of the public spaces is insecurity. Many people are nowadays tending to run away from public places because they think that it can cause them more harm than good. For instance, being bombed or robbed.
However, things are different in this airport because one of the most important services they offer their clients is protection. There are a lot of police offers circulating within and out of the port. All of them are well trained on how to handle security matters. Therefore, when I go to this place, I feel so much confident that I will leave without encountering any problem (Edward, T., 2001).
Actually, this is good because it helps to attract lot of people to this facility. They come together and travel as a team. This helps in reducing the distance that would otherwise existed between them. This is the reason why I saw very many people staying in the park for a very long time. None of them seemed to be worried because this port, unlike other, has never had any case of insecurity for the past couple of years (Bryan, L., 001).
5. Ground transportation
The Los Angeles International Airport has a well equipped ground transport that connects its clients to the bus terminus in all the major sections of Los Angeles City. It has fleets of buses that ferry people to and from the airport. This is very important because it facilitates movements and makes life so simple for the travelers.
They are quite organized and provide quality services to the clients. In these buses, people are allowed to travel together without discriminating on anyone based on their economic or social background. For instance, during my visits to the airport, I managed to travel together with other students from Asia. Because of our interactions, I managed to make a lot of friends. Up to now, we still communicate. This was a valuable experience in my life because it exposed me a lot. Now I can boast of having intercontinental friendship (Bar-Anan, Y. & et al., 2007). Surely, I could not achieve this if I did not decide to use LAX as an important public facility.
I would like to conclude by saying that social distance is a very significant aspect of human being that can really transform them if properly done. People should put their differences aside and come together to share their experiences, challenges and agenda. Therefore, more facilities like LAX should be constructed to enable people get an opportunity of interacting regardless of their diversities. This will make the world be united.