Actors, the Actor Network and Their Impact on Public Space Management: Social Network Analysis as a Method


  • Dahae Lee Technical University of Dortmund



Public space management, park management, social network analysis, network theory


Public space is an essential element of cities as it offers several benefits. Due to its significance, there is much discussion of its design, development and use. Although equally important, the management of public space lacks attention in academia and policy. This is regrettable given concerns about the quality of public space and calls for substantial changes in public space management. Moreover, while multi-actor involvement in public space management has become popular, its impact has been less studied. This paper attempts to fill the research gap by presenting an empirical study on Görlitzer Park in Berlin, Germany. Thereby, it focuses on multi-actor involvement in public space management. Based on the results of social network analysis, the paper provides a valuable insight into the actors involved, the actor network and their impact on public space management. Most importantly, the paper argues that the structure of the actor network matters for managing public space. This suggests that improving the actor network can be a key to enhancing the quality of public space. The paper also discusses how to improve communication between actors to better manage public space.


Download data is not yet available.


Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg von Berlin (2013): Integratives Parkmanagement 2011-2013. Görlitzer Park. Berlin.

Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg von Berlin (2016): Handlungskonzept Görlitzer Park. Berlin.

Borgatti, S.P.; Halgin, D.S. (2011): On network theory. In: Organization Science 22, 5, 1168–1181.

Borgatti, S.P.; Ofem, B. (2010): Overview: Social network theory and analysis. In: Daly, A.J. (ed.): Social network theory and educational change. Cambridge, 17–29.

CABE – Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (2004): The value of public space. How high quality parks and public spaces create economic, social and environmental value. London.

Carmona, M. (2010): Contemporary public space: critique and classification. Part one: Critique. In: Journal of Urban Design 15, 1, 123–148.

Carmona, M.; De Magalhães, C.; Hammond, L. (2008): Public space: The management dimension. London.

Cellucci, C.; Di Sivo, M. (2021): Post-pandemic public space. The challenges for the promotion of well-being and public health in the post-covid city. In: Charytonowicz, J.; Maciejko, A.; Falcão, C.S. (eds.): Advances in human factors in architecture, sustainable urban planning and infrastructure. Cham, 181–189.

De Magalhães, C.; Carmona, M. (2009). Dimensions and models of contemporary public space management in England. In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 52, 1, 111–129.

Duivenvoorden, E.; Hartmann, T.; Brinkhuijsen, M.; Hesselmans, T. (2021): Managing public space – A blind spot of urban planning and design. In: Cities 109, 103032.

Gehrke, C. (2021): Polizei-Statistik: Das sind die gefährlichsten Parks in Berlin. In: Berliner Zeitung vom 19. Juli 2021. (19.01.2023).

Klijn, E.H.; Koppenjan, J.F.M. (2014): Complexity in governance network theory. In: Complexity, Governance and Networks 1, 1, 61–70.

Krupa, M.; Cenek, M.; Powell, J.; Tammell, E.J. (2018): Mapping the stakeholders: Using social network analysis to increase the legitimacy and transparency of participatory scenario planning. In: Society and Natural Resources 31, 1, 136–141.

Lee, D. (2022): Public space in transition. Co-production and co-management of privately owned public space in Seoul and Berlin. Bielefeld.

Luttik, J. (2000). The value of trees, water and open spaces as reflected by house prices in the Netherlands. In: Landscape and Urban Planning 48, 3‑4, 161–167.‑6

Prell, C.; Hubacek, K.; Reed, M. (2009). Stakeholder analysis and social network analysis in natural resource management. In: Society and Natural Resources 22, 6, 501–518.

Punter, J.V. (1990): The privatisation of the public realm. In: Planning Practice and Research 5, 3, 9–16.

Van Melik, R.G. (2008): Changing public space: The recent redevelopment of Dutch city squares. Utrecht.

Zamanifard, H.; Alizadeh, T.; Bosman, C. (2018). Towards a framework of public space governance. In: Cities 78, 155–165.

Zetter, R.; Butina Watson, G. (2006). Designing sustainable cities in the developing world. Oxford.


Issue publication date 2023-08-31 (version 2)
Published online first 2023-03-30 (version 1)




Research Article

How to Cite

Lee D. Actors, the Actor Network and Their Impact on Public Space Management: Social Network Analysis as a Method. RuR [Internet]. 2023 Aug. 31 [cited 2024 Jun. 17];81(4):373-87. Available from: