Private Dwelling in Public Space: Edmonton's Tent City

  • Author / Creator
    Black, Erin Jennifer
  • How are homeless individuals, who have no access to private space yet still have the same needs of dwelling as the rest of us, regarded when they exercise their right to dwell? This question guided my research of Edmonton’s Tent City, which emerged during the summer of 2007. Interviews with twenty-two individuals, including with encampment residents, service providers, and state officials, informed a broader understanding of why the encampment emerged at the time that it did; how Edmonton’s public spaces accommodate the homeless; and, how Tent City shaped municipal and provincial policy on housing and homelessness. Homeless campers saw Tent City as “home,” while state management focused on excluding homeless campers from the downtown public space to restore order to the streets of Edmonton, as well as their positive public image. Tent City constituted a claim by homeless campers to occupy public space and be represented as part of “the public” but hitherto this has been met with increased strategies of dispersement and exclusion rather than with an expansion of citizenship rights. I argue that Tent City illuminates the state’s preoccupation with regulating the visibility of homeless individuals rather than focusing on the dwelling needs of homeless campers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.