(By Paulo Victor Melo) Cameras on public roads, inside buses, trains, parks and squares; private video surveillance systems that also record street images; geolocation mechanisms; drones flying over large avenues; the use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition in different spaces of circulation of people. Urban public spaces are increasingly interwoven with information and communication digital devices and infrastructures. These transcend physical limitations and install mechanisms for gathering individual and collective personal data; they promote changes in social dynamics, aggravate territorial conflicts and expand the surveillance potential of cities.
Idealised values of common identification and consensus often attributed to urban neighbourhoods are romanticised, transfiguring and problematic. The socio-spatial construct of the neighbourhood is constituted not only by what we have in common and what we share, but also by dissent and conflict. We argue that conflict is not to be seen as deficient but can rather be constitutive and, in some cases, even productive for the socio-spatial (re)production of urban neighbourhoods. A research design that combines theory on social negotiations, rules and conventions in the public sphere with critical mapping techniques based on workshops conducted in the field helps to analyse the ambivalent role of conflicts in Berlin-Neukölln.
(Rebecca Enobong Roberts & Comrade Deji Adeyanju) Navigating public space is globally complex and complicated . In nations of the Global South, where democracies are gradually becoming problematic , it is becoming obvious that these democracies are blurry with porous boundaries. Various mechanisms such as “no trespassing” signs, high fences and strategic CCTV cameras all testify to increasing contestations over what public space means and who has a right to access it. In Africa, the situation is progressively getting worse, as the recent oppression and killings of unarmed protesters in public spaces attest to. For example, the arrest and killings of unarmed protesters in the cities of Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria and Kampala, Uganda , should bring to the fore debates and questions on the reconfiguration and negotiation of public space. In this post, we seek to reflect on the ENDSARS protest in Nigeria and its implications for rights to public space in Nigeria.
The Coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on cities and populations all over the world. Although the virus itself is only a tiny, invisible thing, it has set a challenge for humanity: public spaces in cities have become empty, airports are closed, prayers have been cancelled and people are told to stay home for the first time in our lifetime. As cities are not meant to only satisfy basic human needs but provide crucial physical and social environments for human interaction, the changes the virus has brought to urban spaces have left stark impressions on their inhabitants and vice versa. Our daily habits influence our lives, and the way we act and interact reforms our built environment.
"Ich bin die 'Fremde', die 'heute kommt und morgen bleibt.' (Simmel, 1992: 764). In Zeiten der Corona-Krise fühle ich mich als Südkoreanerin in Deutschland noch fremder, doch gleichzeitig fühle ich mich als in Deutschland lebende Südkoreanerin auch fremd, wenn ich mit meinen Freunden in Korea kommuniziere." Kayoon Kim berichtet über den unterschiedlichen Umgang mit Corona in Südkorea und Deutschland.
Wie konnte sich so rapide eine virologisch-statistische Deutung des öffentlichen Raums bei so vielen Menschen durchsetzen? Was zeigt Corona über die gesellschaftlichen Probleme auf, die sich auch in „normalen“ Zeiten im und am öffentlichen Raum abspielen? Der Beitrag nimmt aktuelle Veränderungen im öffentlichen Raum zum Anlass, um seine Veränderbarkeit zu betonen und auf bestehende Ungleichheiten […]