Public Space as a Battlefield

May 21, 2012

Public Space as a Battlefield

Occupation of the public space in Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo. BBC News

Javier Mozas includes in a+t 38 Strategy and Tactics in Public Space the article 'Public Space as a Battlefield'. It looks at the context from which public space emerges and develops the system of tactics applied to public space offering his view of the actors involved, the modus operandi and the realms in which it takes place.

Extract from the article:

"... Public space is the messenger who dignifies urban activity and lets us know which way things are moving in the world. If before the design of public space was all about achieving goals concerning social control, using large spaces for repression and representation, now the focus is clearly on not so much the space in itself but on how to act upon this space, on the strategies and tactics used by those involved in controlling and acting.

Power deploys control strategies on public spaces, just as grassroots movements undertake actions to undermine power and in turn take back the space. This is why the sense of process is so important. If this process is top-down, a series of symbolic, programme and design strategies will have been deployed in order for given action to remain under the control of the established power.

If the opposite is the case, bottom-up, this will normally involve a tactical, temporary, participatory and homemade action so as to add, for instance, the condition of being “public” to a void which has been neglected by the city. It is highly important to know the source of initiatives, financial backing and sponsorship of each proposal as it is here that we may find the level of radical postures and resistance to power. The most significant change in the method of intervening on public spaces is that which affects the sense of its being the driving force for change in the city. Decisions no longer trickle down from the lofty heights of power but rise up from grassroots movements. The prevailing direction is upwards, bottom up..."

 



 


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