Archive for the ‘Privately managed public spaces’ Category

Common Ground Venice Bieannale 2012

August 28, 2012

Common Ground is the theme chosen for the Biennale by the curator David Chipperfield.
All of us have different interpretations of how this should manifest itself in the exhibitions. Common ground may be the meeting and collaboration of architects and artists, architects and engineers, architects and planners. Some of us may think of the common ground as that space which we inhabit as a result of the built environment, the ground we walk through or the space that allows us to enjoy our leisure time. The most successful of these exhibitions that address the common ground occupied by citizens was the pop-up discussions hosted by the Australians. A two square metre rug with the graphic ‘Formations’ was placed on the ground and became the focal point of discussions on aspects of architecture; planning, fee competition. Participants sat on the rug, while others stood around the mat, straining to hear the discussion. Claiming this piece of ‘common ground’ was the simplest and most effective way of responding to the brief.

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Occupy LSX and Paternoster Square

November 9, 2011

One of the many consequences of the Occupy London campsite is the withdrawal, or revoking, of the public right of way through Paternoster Square. An injunction was obtained to prevent public access to the square, thwarting any attempt by activists to get near the London Stock Exchange, which is based in the square. Similar injunctions have been obtained by Canary Wharf, home to several banking institutions, and Broadgate, home to banks, lawyers and investment companies.

The owners of these ‘public spaces’ were able to do this because the land is privately owned, and the public are only given privileged access to the space. Though this privilege may be revoked at any time, it is unusual to see it done so quickly. The ring of steel in place around these sites, and reinforced by a show of police presence, may become a more common site in the City.

This can only emphasise the gulf that separates the corporate world of bankers and high finance from the rest of the population. If the corporations want to have a dialogue with the 99% who don’t enjoy the bonuses, yet suffer the cuts, then this is not the way to do it.