In the late Cold War era, activist coalitions across the world spontaneously converted dozens of vacant lots into liberated zones as forms of spatial protest, often calling them "People's Parks." This pattern of People's Parks reveals a historical moment in which activist identities and social justice communities began to take root within the urban environment. Focusing on two case studies of postwar insurgent park creation as protest, Berkeley's People's Park and San Diego's Chicano Park, this article traces how gender and race shaped the People's Park movement in the postwar era. While often described as utopian zones, park creations became processes in which activists reproduced inequality within their own social justice circles, including marginalizing and sexualizing women, and nearly erasing women of color. This paper illuminates how women began to challenge sexism within these spaces by using labor, their bodies, and their art as tools to claim space within these movements for spatial power in complex ways. By centering women's voices in an analysis of urban green space as a coalitional issue in this era, this work reveals how gender shaped the systemic power inequities within this movement.


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pp. 103-119
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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