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Fabian’s post of inclusive public and private space, invites more questions about who controls the public realm. For example, protesting by the Monument Statue in Newcastle is allowed, but try doing the same thing in a shopping centre, will lead to your removable.

Protest at Monument, Newcastle (1)

Security has become a prominent part within city and town spaces. In the UK we are granted a curbed version of the American freedom of speech and movement rights. I will use case studies and research to show how spaces are being used to grant expression and opinion.

Spaces for Who?

Most high streets contain a high density of retail that attracts people together. Moreover, these spaces we use, are allocated with function, form and are meaningful to many (Norberg-Schultz C, 2013), hence why we congregate around other people to explore and discover this cult-like experience more (Castell M, 2011).

Northumberland Street, shopping centre (2)

In outdoor spaces, we are allowed to do as we please (within reason), allowing groups to protest and express their opinions to the wider population. Spaces like these should be flexible during different times of the day, allowing the most participation and activity within a single place (Beatley T, 2011).

Case Study

In the case of Monument, it showed how peaceful protesting can take place without causing havoc to people’s daily lives. Furthermore, this protest took place in the city centre, with hundreds of people watching. As a result, this gave the group the ability to practice “freedom of expression”, without causing disarray to the space or prompting removal by security (Seddon S, 2017).

 

Protest at Monument (3)

Another case can be seen in Westfield, Northern Ireland, where a protest took place inside a shopping centre. This forced it to close early, causing a high level of police presence to remove the protesters, (Saul H, 2014) due to overwhelming numbers of people who participated. Additionally, this example shows an extreme case where people do not respect a place. Creating a large media outburst that can inspire others to do the same.

Protest in Westfield shopping centre (4)

Planning for Public Space

When planning for open public space, we need to provide enough room for all types of activities. These should be inclusive for everyone and not segregate groups who wish to voicetheir opinion. They should provide joy and life to a place (Lefebvre H, 1997) where, expression and opinion can be voiced without suppression.

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References

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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