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

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95