Social behavior in public spaces in a college town

Tim F. Liao, Adam Rule, Ryanne Ardisana, Alexandra Knicher, Amanda Mayo, Corey Sarcu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public spaces provide an important venue for social and political behavior. In this research, we investigate social behavior in public spaces in an American College town. Three research sites in and around the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are selected, and two kinds of public behavior - in the public and the private sphere - and private behavior are observed in the three locations. We seek to understand the relationship between public place and social behavior, types and variations of social behavior, and the importance of material or real public space. We find social behavior in the public sphere tends to concentrate in centrally located, symbolically powerful public places and that, despite increasing popularity of virtual public space, real or material public space continues to provide a vibrant environment for the public for their private as well as public behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalSociologija i Prostor
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • College town
  • Photographic observation
  • Public space
  • Public sphere
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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