Implementing mixed tenure projects is an ongoing practice in Australian cities despite questions raised about the soundness of the underlying assumptions. This paper draws on the concept of ‘right to the city’, based on Lefebvre's work as an organising framework to investigate the findings of empirical research on social mix policy through the case study of Carlton Housing Estate Redevelopment Project in Melbourne, Australia. From Lefebvre's work we understand the right to the city as a right to participate in and influence decision-making, and to enjoy and access local urban spaces. Data collection included in-depth interviews with public housing tenants, private residents and service providers, as well as neighbourhood observations and participation in on-site events. The findings reveal that public housing tenants' opportunities to influence and participate in decision-making processes for the redevelopment project have been limited and privatisation of public space has created ongoing symbolic and physical barriers to their fully accessing on-site ‘open’ space. Numerous tensions are revealed in the processes of implementing social mix policies particularly in terms of tenants' opportunities to participate and fully enjoy newly designed open spaces in their community; in effect tenants have been denied a right to the city.