words@bld50 monthly talks


On Politics and Public Space | Thursday 7 April 2011 at 7pm | Public talk by Kim Dovey

(Update! The talk is now available online to view in bite size instalments - see below!)

We're back! Our talk series kicks off for 2011 with a timely discussion of politics and public space.

What is the role of public space in the struggle for democracy?

Dovey will share his insights on this theme, and reflect on recent events in the Middle East - where the role of the public square as a place of dissent has been brought into sharp focus.

While practices of public debate are largely confined to the institutions of governance and the mass media, significant struggles for democratic change have long been identified with the spectacle of protest and violence in key squares and streets. These include Tiananmen in Beijing, Ratchadamnoen and Ratchaprasong in Bangkok, Tahrir Square in Cairo and Pearl Square, Bahrain. This lecture will explore the appropriation of such places in terms of naming, history, surrounding institutions, urban design, spatial structure, access, traffic, communications and global media. Such appropriations are multiplicitous, rhizomic, dynamic and complex. They affirm Lefebre’s principle of the citizen’s ‘right to the city’ and the much older Socratic principle that urban space only becomes genuinely public through the contestation of different views.

Kim Dovey is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Melbourne. He has published widely on social issues in architecture, urban design and planning. Books include 'Framing Places' (Routledge, 2008), 'Fluid City' (UNSW Press 2005) and ‘Becoming Places’ (Routledge 2010). He currently leads a series of research projects on place identity, urban intensification, informal settlements and creative cities.

Same place - RMIT bldg 50, Orr St (off Victoria St), Carlton.

The talk will be followed by light refreshments. Hope you can join us!

Update! The talk is now available online to view in bite size instalments - see below!

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