This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges of public space management (PSM) in the Latin American context by analysing the perspectives of different governance actors. Issues in the PSM literature include ineffective political decisions, prevalence of the private sector, lack of coordination between government institutions, and a need for more effective social participation. While most PSM studies focus on European cities, empirical PSM knowledge in the Latin American context is scarce. To address this gap, this research elucidates the Mexican context by investigating PSM in Mexico City and Puebla. The case study research is based on qualitative document research and interview analysis from four groups of governance actors: government officials, academics, NGOs, and architecture/urban planning firms. We found multiple PSM challenges: uncoordinated efforts in the maintenance of public space, lack of and polarisation of investment, and privatisation of public space. At the intra-governmental level, the research identified a lack of coordination between government institutions, increasing reliance on the private sector for PSM, and limited opportunities for residents to participate in PSM processes. The paper highlights the missing links between existing governance actors involved in PSM and wider residents, in the pursuit of the ambitious role of achieving public space quality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


  • public space
  • public space management
  • Mexico
  • urban planning
  • governance actors


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