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Stripped bare: the regulation of public space in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

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This project examines the anomic use of public space in front of the Carnegie Centre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Using qualitative and quantitative data, including interviews, law enforcement statistics and urban observation, this research explores the issue through Giorgio Agamben’s rich theoretical framework of states of exception and the homo sacer. A confluence of factors including lack of access to private space, a great concentration of human services and the pursuit of harm reduction policy in response to drug addiction have contributed to the fostering of a space of exception in the DTES. In this space a unique figure has emerged, akin to Agamben’s homo sacer, who is identified primarily in terms of addiction, poverty and residency in the neighbourhood.
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