Why Social Change Needs Public Space

Despite the emergence of social media, social change still requires the use of physical space. Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park are proof of America's dwindling public sphere.

What's the Latest Development?


A few weeks ago, practically nobody outside of Manhattan had heard of Zuccotti Park but now that it has become the literal home of the movement to Occupy Wall Street, it is on the world's map. But Zuccotti Park is privately owned and a zoning particularity requires that the park, unlike publicly owned space, must remain open day and night. In principle, occupiers of Zuccotti park are subject to its municipalities rules against tarps, sleeping bags and the storage of private property on the site. 

What's the Big Idea?

Despite the rise of social media, public space remains necessary in uniting communities and creating demands to affect social change. But in the U.S., public space has often gone corporate, contrary to Aristotle's ancient political ideas that emphasize the importance of civic space for the execution of civic duties. "The occupation of the virtual world along with Zuccotti Park is of course jointly propelling the Occupy Wall Street movement now, and neither would be so effective minus the other."

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less