Although publicness theory has been able to account for much of the elusive and sometimes-contested nature of the term public, many important questions remain under examined. Not least among these concern how publicness changes over time. This article proposes a theory of adaptive publicness to explain change in political and economic influence over an institution or set of institutions over time. Using examples from municipal parks and recreation, this article provides a typology of publicness adaptations and explores the political and market factors that bring them about. Although parks and recreation services have traditionally been viewed as primarily public services, important changes have taken place, which cannot be fully understood through a purely political lens. The growth of private companies operating in this space, complex networks of private and public actors, and the proliferation of nonprofit and philanthropic engagements requires conceptual perspectives that reach beyond traditional public-private sector logics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Administration