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Determining the External Social Costs of Public Space Crowding: Life in a Tourist Ghetto

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Neuts, B.
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7324
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): crowding
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "It can theoretically be stated that the property rights of a city’s public spaces lie with the local population, making it a case of common property. The right holders can therefore decide upon proper use and potentially exclude non-right holders. In reality, however, limiting use rights to public space in the form of exclusion is extremely difficult to impose and consequently seldom occurs. This results in a situation where the common property runs the risk of being over-consumed. Nevertheless, in contrast with environmental resources, this overconsumption will generally not result in a tragedy of the commons where the resource ultimately gets destroyed. Herein lays the major difference between public space and other sorts of common goods: public space is simultaneously subtractable and reproducible. The consequences of crowding in public spaces are temporal and intangible, in the form of utility loss to its users. This temporal aspect of crowding still induces significant societal costs, in the form of annoyance, loss of life quality or avoidance of the public space altogether. Quantifying these external costs, with special attention to the case of tourist crowding, will result in improved cost-benefit models and more adequate development strategies."

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