Public Space and the Pandemic

Mervyn Horgan, University of Guelph

Pre-pandemic, as part of the SSHRC-funded Sociable Cities Project, we were researching interactions between strangers in a variety of Canadian urban public spaces. The pandemic all but emptied public spaces of people, fundamentally transforming everyday experiences of being in public. It also required us to change our research. Our seven person research team has completed two waves of interviews (n=72) with Canadians about their experiences of being in public spaces during the pandemic. The initial wave was conducted during the first 3 months of lockdown, and the second wave after more than 6 months had passed. Our interviews focus in particular on participants’ accounts of interactions with strangers in both instrumental and expressive settings. We are currently analyzing our data.

Co-investigators: Prof. Saara Liinamaa, University of Guelph

Funder: SSHRC

Research Status: Currently in research phase

Contact: Mervyn Horgan

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