Here is one of a very large number of essays that argue for the importance of public spaces. We are "balkanized" and an "archipelago nation."
Agreed that most public spaces in U.S. cities are not what they ought to be. I recently had early morning coffee in "tony" Westwood (in West L.A.) and a homeless person came in (as many do) and not to make a purchase. The staff tried to escort him out and he started spitting wherever he could. I asked the staff if calling the police was an option and they mentioned that the response rates are much too slow to make a difference.
A woman who helps us keep house is occasionally dependent on public transit, but reports that, aside from the serious time costs, there are some bus stations where she does not feel safe. Avoiding these makes her trip much longer.
All of the high-minded advocates of public spaces and public interaction are silent on the serious civility deficit in many of our public spaces. Perhaps they have nothing to say about a very serious problem.