This presentation draws on a wider research project investigating the rapid spread and great social and economic success of artificial ‘city beaches’ as an interim use of empty urban sites throughout Germany. The city beach’s unique range of materials, built elements and event programming, its physical and locational flexibility, and its extremely low set-up and operational costs all define it as a distinctively new type of publicly-accessible space which demonstrates creativity in the production of place and which suits limited finances and a rapidly changing built environment, a type which provides great bodily comfort and a diversity of behavioural affordances for a wide cross-section of the community. At the same time, this place type’s formulaic application throughout Europe, the basis of most such projects in private-sector gastronomy, and their generally up-market clientele all suggest that as a form of open space, the city beach may be little more than a themed environment which stimulates conspicuous consumption, and the latest, most extreme trend in a necessarily rapid cycle of novelty and planned obsolescence within the hospitality and tourism industries. In this context, the city beach may be neither local nor sustainable, but rather a landscape form that is well suited to a culture which is superficial, transient and disposable. The presentation explores the tensions between the apparent liveability gains that these city beaches offer for local residents, specifically in neighborhoods undergoing regeneration, and their role as commercialised venues for seeing and being seen which are in social terms highly stratified. The presentation draws upon behavioural observation, a survey of site managers with follow-up interviews, site analysis, and the scant secondary literature.