Is Public Space Public Good?

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The City Program hosted a Warren Gill Memorial Lecture February 21, 2013, at SFU Vancouver. Mark Kingwell, an author and critic, led the lecture, focusing on one question: Is public space a public good?

Public space is routinely seen as the cure to every imaginable urban ill, from air quality to obesity. But how much of what we call public space is really public? Kingwell considered this problem, together with its implications for the notion of urban play and the so-called “right to the city.” He concluded with some reflections on the relationship between the city and the university.

Mark Kingwell is an award-winning professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and the author or co-author of 17 books of political, cultural, and aesthetic theory, including the national bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). To find out more about The City Program and other SFU Continuing Studies programs, visit


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