What Does it Mean to 'Occupy' a Public Space? Or, How Chicago's Design Frustrates Participatory Democracy
Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Professor John Casey (UIC)
In the late 60's and early 70's, French philosopher Henri Lefebvre examined the rhetoric of space. He outlined in his research how space is constructed, maintained, and interpreted. Lefebvre’s work was inspired by the political struggles of his own time, including the May 68 General Strike in Paris. Following this event, he became particularly interested in supposedly “public spaces” and the rights of ordinary people to the physical environment in which they live. These issues are relevant to the Occupy movement as a whole, but are especially salient for Occupy Chicago. Where are our public spaces in Chicago? How were they created? How are they maintained? What do they signify? Which ones might be of greatest use to the Occupy Chicago movement as it proceeds? What must be done to take back Chicago from the corporate powers that are buying it one piece at a time and taking away our “droit à la ville” or right to the city?