Culture, Participation and Policy in the Municipal Urban Park

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book concerns the values and practices of participation in municipal public parks, and the connections they have with cultural policy, urbanism, and social life. Adopting a critical cultural policy lens, it identifies the park as a mundane but extraordinarily treasured place for the production and exchange of cultural values, regulation, resistance, and the practising of citizenship.

Drawing on extensive mixed-methods research on everyday participation in diverse local cultural ecosystems in England and Scotland, the book examines the social lives of parks and their users, and the important public values that are generated through their common stewardship and usership. It presents case studies of parks and co-located museums as cultural public spheres, which promote both commoning and commodification. These are contextualized by histories of municipal parkmaking from the nineteenth century to the present and related to the making of local government and to other civic and cultural institutions.
The book highlights contemporary issues of austerity, marketisation and de-municipalisation within local government in the context of urban development. It positions the public park as fundamental to democratic cultural governance and makes the case for the primacy of public trust, ownership, and park equity in safeguarding the right to the city.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages203
ISBN (Electronic)9783031442773
ISBN (Print)9783031442766
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2024

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Cultural Participation
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
ISSN (Print)2661-8699
ISSN (Electronic)2661-8702


  • cultural policy
  • cultural participation
  • value
  • urban parks

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Creative Manchester


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