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."

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