public space or open space

I’m working on terminology and usage this week. Reading through and keyword searching the local newspapers, it is evident that ‘open space’ is by far the more common term for places that we would now call ‘public space’. I will do some more digging on when I think the terminology shifted, but this crude google books ngram shows a similar pattern:

 

The term public space only starts to pick up frequency/proportion of books published in the mid 1970s, and overtakes open space in the late 1990s.

The peaks in usage of open space are in 1913 and 1945.

The term ‘privatisation of public space’ only hits the bookshelves in (British) English in 1998.

The impact of Oscar Newman’s Defensible Space, published 1972, is clear too: