Squares have defined urban living since the dawn of democracy, from which they are inseparable. [...]
I don’t think it’s coincidental that early in 2011 the Egyptian revolution centered around Tahrir Square, or that the Occupy Movement later that same year, partly inspired by the Arab Spring, expressed itself by taking over squares like Taksim in Istanbul, the Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona, and Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. — nybooks.com
Nodding to the Taksim Square political protests in May 2013, the Serra Gate installation by Istanbul practice GAD Architecture artistically interprets and also invites passers-by to examine the influence of urban interventions in the public realm. Serra Gate, which was inspired by the large-scale sculptures of artist Richard Serra, highlights how protesters created makeshift living spaces inside the park and the streets... — bustler.net
Istanbul is the city of transformation and contradiction. As an urbanist, I am trying to keep record and make sense of this transformation and am especially interested in its winners and losers. At the moment we live in a giant construction site, where skyscrapers, mega projects and urban renewal projects are taking place all around. There is a gold rush to real-estate development. — theguardian.com
Maidan Square in Kiev. Taksim Square in Istanbul. Tahrir Square in Cairo. Recent democratic movements around the globe have risen, or crashed and burned, on the hard pavement of vast urban public squares. [...] But too few observers have considered the significance of the empty public spaces themselves. [...]
If public squares are essential to democracy, is their relative absence in modern American life bad for our democracy—or a sign that we’re not as democratic as we imagine? — zocalopublicsquare.org
Our task — and we should well speak as architects — must be making the invisible visible, uncovering and retracing the concealed limits of the city. We must construct barriers and counter-spaces within and against the processes that tame and dissolve the crucial loci of democracy. — Places Journal
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