With the provocative title “A Dictator’s Guide to Urban Design,” a recent article in The Atlantic examines the revolutionary capacity of public squares like Ukraine’s Independence Square.
Matt Ford explores “the public square as an epicenter of democratic expression and protest.” On the other side of the public protest equation is the lack of public space, “or the deliberate manipulation of such a space—as a way for autocrats to squash dissent through urban design.”
Ford goes on to examine case studies where public space enabled protests, like Kiev's Independence Square, Georgia’s Tahrir Square in Egypt, and Manana’s Pearl Roundabout, as well as cities where public space is apportioned to prevent social uprisings, like in Baron Haussmann's renovations of Paris and the sprawl of Naypyidaw in Burma.
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National Capital Planning Commission
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.