In the 1980s and 1990s, North America and Europe have experienced a rising tide of concern about the behavior and well-being of children. On the one hand, there is increased popular concern about young children's vulnerability to stranger-dangers in public space. On the other hand, adults also appear to be concerned about the violence and unruliness of older children in public places. This paper uses these contradictory concerns to explore how public space is being produced as a space that is "naturally" or "normally" an adult space. It also examines the way that this "normality" is being disrupted by teenagers, who are provoking anxieties among adults concerning their continued ability to regulate the activities of the young and therefore maintain their spatial hegemony. In doing so, the paper questions the extent to which "public" is an appropriate term to describe the streets and the suburbs, if their maintenance requires the exclusion or marginalization of young people. It also explores the paradoxical meanings of the home as a public space and the street as a private space for many children.
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