Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Urban Studies Scholar on Occupy Movement

Perhaps of interest: two blog posts by Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning in the
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University:

What Space to Occupy in New York: A Two-Site Solution? suggests thinking through the possibility of (in New York, at least) having a "staging site" (where public events happen) and a "political incubator site" (where educational activities, discussions, the development and practice of alternative forms of political organization take place).

The Purpose of the Occupation Movement and the Danger of Fetishizing Space looks at the multiplicity of functions/purposes played by OWS in the struggle for a better world and then tries to discern the role played by space/territory in each as a way of assessing the importance of space. His conclusion:

The particular space being occupied should not be fetishized, should not become the prize, the conquest of which is the goal of the movement. It is only, for most aspects of the movement, symbolic; the rise and fall of the movement should not be linked to the extent of the physical occupation of a given space. The spaces sought for occupancy are not the prize for which the battle is being fought, but rather a terrain on which that battle takes place, and a more or less important source of support to facilitate the achievement of objectives more important than the command of a particular piece of ground.