Urban Fold

The Public Role of Tahrir Square

A Cairo native who had returned home before the recent unrest and revolution looks at the role of the city's Tahrir Square, and how recent events have given additional meaning to this public space.

Mohamed Elshahed, a doctoral candidate in the Middle East Studies Department at New York University, reflects on the uprising in Egypt and how the public plaza of Tahrir Square played an integral role.

"The January 25th Revolution has had a dramatic, immediate effect on how Egyptians occupy Cairo and interact with one another. Commentators in the West have been quick to credit online social networking with empowering the protests. But the revolution that started in January 2011 in Cairo has provided powerful evidence that the virtual is not enough: in the course of several historic days in Tahrir Square it became decisively clear that the occupation of physical urban space was, and continues to be, crucial to the success and continuity of the revolution. No doubt the initial rush of online exhortations, including the Jan. 25 call to protest police brutality, was vitally important; but as we now know, the country was unplugged for six days, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 5, during which period the protests actually grew larger and the protestors became even more determined not merely to express popular dissent but ultimately to overthrow the regime.

Indeed, in the past few weeks Tahrir has became a truly public square."

Full Story: Tahrir Square: Social Media, Public Space

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from five cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95