The Shared Space

Lately, citizens’ movements demanding a change in the system have been happening in different places and different times. The Arab spring, the Indignados movement in Spain, protests in Greece, Occupy Wall Street, they all share characteristics that put them in direct relationship to the public space of the city. They have led to the reunion between citizens and the space that most defines the city in a purely urban fact.

Tahir Square in Egypt, Sol in Spain, Syntagma in Greece, have become the formal container of the citizens’ claim of an area that belongs to them, in which they become capable of expressing a common strength that would not be the same intense without this space.

Some architectural analyses of the situation point out that architecture defines the physical space of the so-called system: Banks, Companies, Government Offices … all of them are represented by an architectural form, while the citizens’ movement does not have it. Architecture is absent from all of them…

I consider this approach quite immediate and partisan, since it is precisely in this lack of form where the deep relationship of those movements with the city lies (and therefore, with architecture). Is the empty space which allows the generation and multiplication of these movements; Public Space, open and visible; and our duty as city planners to consider it as essential part of Urban Life.

There is no clearer message from the citizens nowadays than the need of such spaces. It’s very important for the future of cities to maintain them in order to encourage the mixture of individuals, heterogeneity in the streets, enhance human relations through public space, the shared space.

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2 responses to “The Shared Space

  1. Pingback: Sites of contestation | Open Source Urbanism

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