URL with Digital Object Identifier
This article examines the dislocations produced when competing understandings of public space come into contact. Focusing on Montpellier, France, where an urban renewal program has seen portions of the city-centre renovated, the article considers the breaking apart of a North African commercial cluster under the guide of French heritage protection. Arguing that such action is tiedto municipal urban politics and wider trajectories that place diverse identities in a separate category, I trace the process through which a plaza encompassed in the urban renewal program has been labelled as “empty” and “dead” space. Suggesting that the relocation of a well-used outdoor food market is an instance of public space being deliberately emptied of its social and civic function, I argue that such sites are better defined as “municipal spaces”, entities that are firmly in the realm of the state, rather than ones within the purview of diverse publics.