Public Space and Revolution

Jay Walljasper discusses the role of public spaces in recent protests and revolutions from Madison, Wisconsin to Cairo, Egypt.
February 24, 2011, 11am PST | Victor Negrete
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In a post from, Walljasper acknowledges the important role played by social media in recent uprisings in the Middle East; however, Walljasper argues, "a much older form of commons in these revolts has earned scant attention-the public spaces where citizens rally to voice their discontent, show their power and ultimately articulate a new vision for their homelands."

Walljasper cites Cairo's Tahrir Square, Tripoli's Green Square, Bahrain's Pearl Square, and Tehran's Valiasr Square as examples of public places central to each country's uprisings.

To show the universality of the connection he makes between public space and protest, Walljasper also notes the current protests occurring in Madison, Wisconsin. These protests have centered around the state capitol.

The capitol in downtown Madison "was named by Project for Public Spaces as one of the great public spaces of the world." "This is truly the town square that early Americans imagined as the crux of democracy," the PPS website explains.

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Published on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 in On The Commons
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