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Periscope

The section Periscope brings together links for websites with information concerning public space and the city, including the publication of books, articles and opinion pieces, seminars and lectures, and calls for entries in competitions or for prizes, among other themes. This overview of the general background of the European Prize for Urban Public Space aims to identify the most significant issues pertaining to public space and its most outstanding agents around the world.
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    The complex representations of working-class residential towers

    Demolition of decaying housing complexes in the cities’ suburbs in France is a widespread practice preceding urban renewal. Nevertheless, using the case  of the Plain-Ciel tower in Saint Étienne (Lyon) as an example, this article shows how complex systems of representations give new meanings to the built environment. From the symbol of post-war progress and modernity, through the image of decay, Plain-Ciel finally came to be seen as a “monument rooted in the Saint Étienne landscape”.
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    Rio de Janeiro: Building the Olympic City

    In spite of the elaboration by activists and experts of a Popular Plan that would ensure the coexistence of the informal community with the new Olympic Park, bulldozing, forced evictions and police brutality have been part of everyday-life in the community of Vila Autòdromo, ever since the start of the Olympic works.
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    On how automobiles took over the streets

    This short video by the American comedians “College Humor” explains how, one century ago, cars started taking over streets that had previously been spaces open to the public. In spite of the popular protests against the dangers of the motorized vehicles, corporate marketing strategies managed to convince urban dwellers that they no longer owned the streets.
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    The abyss of private car

    This illustration by the artist Karl Jilg, commissioned by the Swedish Road Administration, expresses how far public space in our cities is surrendered to the hegemony of private car.
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    Silence!

    Miera Street, Riga (Latvia). Cyclists and pedestrians must comply with narrow sidewalks as cars occupy most of the street. But, what if the street was once again a space for effective mobility and social life? "Mierīgi!" (Silence!), a performance by Fine Young Urbanists.
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    “My Square Is My Garden”

    “Play Tag” is the public space project which has won the Chile-wide competition “My Square Is My Garden”. The aim of the initiative is to gather ideas for improving the quality of life in neighbourhoods with an emphasis on harmonious coexistence. “Play Tag” is a minimalist project focusing on movement and providing facilities for games and leisure activities. The project has received a sum of $6 million, two million for the authors and four million to carry it out.
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    Closing the Gates of the Favalas. Solution or More Problems?

    A short documentary commissioned by The Architectural Review presents the case of the Parque Novo San Amaro V neighbourhood in São Paulo, a zone where a new housing complex was constructed to replace the favelas. The residents now had much better living conditions but then they wanted to close the gates so that only they could have access to the zone. Do these “security” measures bring improvements to the quality of life and public space?
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    The Gender Viewpoint: The Female Condition in Architecture.

    The CentroCentro Cibeles in Madrid will be exhibiting until 30 December the points of view of ten women architects who, in documentary video-interview format, will share their experiences, opinions and information on what it’s like to work in an increasingly feminised sector in Spain, where women constitute more than 50% of graduates every year and yet recognition of women is still a minority matter.
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    Democratic Public Spaces Holding out against Terrorism:

    The recent attacks in Paris have prompted all kinds of reactions. One has been to declare a state of exception in France and thereby focusing unprecedented attention on the light and dark aspects of public safety measures, fear and trust, and directly affecting the regulation of public space and the behaviour of citizens therein. This article describes the importance of shared spaces for democracy and emphasises the need to keep trusting the stranger, especially right now.
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    The City Is for Playing in São Paulo

    Some weeks ago we published an article by CCCBLab about the need for playing. In Brazil, the “Basurama” collective, which manages cultural events, took part in the 2013 “Virada Cultural” (Cultural Turning) festival by hanging dozens of swings from a well-known viaduct for “children from 0 to 99 years” to play on. Citizens could then experience how the city and public space can also be used for amusement and diversion.
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