The Global City and the (de)Evolution of the Public Realm

The Cenotaph, Martin Place. Image © Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Syndication

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In October 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions, thousands of people in Australia and in many other cities in the world started to occupy public spaces. In Sydney, where I live, this occupation took place in Martin Place, appropriately enough right outside the Reserve Bank of Australia. This widely publicized protest was an attempt to promote a pro-democracy, civil liberty, social justice message, and to protest against corporate greed and economic inequality.

All of which begged a central question: Was it an occupation of our public space, or was it a reclamation of our public space from governmental and corporate dominance?

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