Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

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Radical Solidarities in Punk and Queer Refusals of Safety and Inclusion Narratives in Planning

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Abstract:  Recent call-outs against Ottawa punk venues have fueled public debates about safe space and the inclusivity of local music scenes. The Ottawa Music Strategy released in 2018 translated these debates into cultural development policy that links creative placemaking and safe space discourse. This article examines the civic response to activist call-outs by analyzing how the Ottawa Music Strategy integrates diversity and inclusion strategies into cultural policy, and how cultural policy and safe space policies intersect with cultural revitalization and economic development priorities in the Ottawa Official Plan. Punk counter-narratives developed through grounded ethnographic research in the Ottawa punk scene unsettle normative public safety narratives that frame punk spaces as unsafe. Place-based histories of anti-oppression tactics, logics, and traditions of punk space and activism contextualize alternative responses by local punk venues and promoters. Drawing upon literature in queer planning and queer geography and literature on intersections between radical queer and punk politics, spatialities, and identities, this article discusses punking planning in solidarity with queering planning through alternative community-based responses to issues of safety, inclusion, and participation.

Keywords:  creative placemaking; cultural planning; punk; queer planning; spatial justice



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© Sarah Gelbard. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.