Space-people Participation or Connection of Political Affairs to Urban Space (Case Study: Bab-al-vazir district and Tahrir Square, Cairo, 2012)

علی جاودانی; حسین پروین
October 2015
Bagh-I-Nazar;Autumn2015, Vol. 12 Issue 34, p3
Academic Journal
The concept of participation has gained a major role in various domains of spatial design and planning including urban planning and landscape design. Although the very core of participatory approach is fundamentally related to emancipatory politics, what is presented in the scope of design and planning as related to participatory in recent years, is not only far from emancipatory politics and struggle for the rights of the underprivileged, but also turned toward negotiation with the state (power institution/institutionalized power) and accepting its role as a legitimate and negotiable one. The paper tries to pose a question about the possibility of extracting a model for participation, in order to re-connect the political affairs, image of the city and its landscape. In this article we tried to construct and present a new model of participation named space-people participation, through analyzing and assessing some of the most remarkable theories and approaches of participatory design and planning and also paying attention to perceptional and subjective characteristics of urban space. In this model, participation is defined as a form of power relations in which space is also an active participator besides people and the state. On one hand, this model is based on the actor-network theory and on the other hand, on the will to regain the power from the state, by the people, which is the core of participatory politics and design. The aim of this model is to change and reshape the subjective elements and characteristic elements of the image of the city, its landscape and also people, through the process of the production of the space. Moreover, it defines the landscape as a product of participation of people and space to regain the power of control over the spatial production process. In this model, the main criterion of assessment of the quality of participation, is the intensity of effects of participation in reshaping the subjective factors of urban perception and image, and also the amount of increasing or decreasing of the people's power and control over space and the political sphere. Finally, two cases, Bab-al-vazir restoration project and revolutionizing Tahrir Square, both in Cairo, are compared through the space-people participation model and Tahrir Square is presented as the true exemplar of real participation.


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