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The street party: pleasurable community practices and placemaking

Nancy Stevenson (Department of Architecture and Cities, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster, London, UK)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 4 October 2019

Issue publication date: 19 November 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore spatial and social practices associated with a community street party through the lens of literature on encounter, conviviality and placemaking, considering its role developing a place-based sense of community.


The research is based upon a case study of a street party in London. Data sources include interviews, a questionnaire, observation and a literature review.


The conviviality associated with partying disrupts mundane social relations and engages diverse communities in placemaking. People playfully engage with one another, performing and reinforcing community and place values in the environment outside their homes.

Practical implications

This paper aims to engender understanding and encourage urban policy makers to support activities which combine pleasure and play to develop a place-based sense of community. It identifies practices which actively engage people at a grassroots level and enable them to articulate and perform community values.

Social implications

Developing a sense of community in rapidly changing and diverse urban areas presents challenges for urban policy makers. Grassroots activities such as street parties often fall outside of funding streams, debates and formal policy making for cities but it is argued here that they enable people to engage in pleasurable and playful interaction and have an important role in disrupting mundane interactions and connecting people.


This paper progresses discussion of community events from a social perspective through an original study, identifying specific practices which contribute to a place-based sense of community.



Stevenson, N. (2019), "The street party: pleasurable community practices and placemaking", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 304-318.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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