Public space is a form of democracy. It is a space of freedom of movement, expression, and most importantly, it is our first contact with a city. In cities around the world, urban spaces such as urban squares, markets, streets, temples, and parks have long been the centers of civic life for urban dwellers. They provide opportunities for gathering, socializing, recreation and festivals.
Aside from recreation, public space has also been seen as an expression of power and a subject of political control. Under medieval monarchy in the West or during colonial rule, public spaces were where political power/protests were staged, displayed, and legitimized. In the totalitarian societies of recent times, certain large public spaces serve as military parade grounds – a raw display of power to impress citizens as well as imbibe fear in enemies. Over time as the power has shifted to the people, public spaces have at last provided a legitimate space for protests and demonstrations – an expression of the freedom of speech.
The essay seeks to explore how and in what ways can our community and public spaces react to protests and demonstrations of power.
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