The Urban Space of Occupied Hong Kong

What surprised me most was the silence. Here I was, standing on what is normally an eight-lane funnel of angry traffic, and the only sounds I could hear were footsteps and the soft murmur of voices. Free of diesel exhaust, the briny scent of the harbour lingered in the air, and a warm breeze ruffled […]

Revisiting the Fortress Embassy

Security forces intervene during the protests at US Embassy Cairo. Photo by Gigi Ibrahim. There are probably at least a few in your city, hiding on the upper floods of office buildings, secluded in elegant townhouses, tucked somewhere behind high fences out of view. Nearby cars’ license plates are sometimes their only identifiable feature. Whether […]

Posted in: Africa and Middle East, Architecture, Books, Europe, Politics by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Revisiting the Fortress Embassy , , , , ,

The Underground City

If you live in Montreal, you’ll eventually be asked the question: “Which way is the underground city?” You will probably be walking along Ste. Catherine Street, the city’s main shopping artery, where H&M and Zara jostle for space with strip clubs and hot dog joints. Or maybe you will be making your way through the […]

Remembering Tiananmen in Hong Kong

Tiananmen Square vigil in Hong Kong. Photos by dawvon. Last night, as Chinese internet censors frantically banned words like “today” and “Tiananmen” from web searches and social media, 180,000 people gathered in Hong Kong to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the June 4th massacre. This is an annual ritual that has taken place ever since […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, History, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Remembering Tiananmen in Hong Kong , ,

Graffiti Republic

Splat! Before Greece erupted into riots against austerity measures, before the sit-ins that convulsed public squares across Spain, long before 2011’s tumultuous protests against world financial systems began “kicking off everywhere“, things had long since kicked off in Argentina. The 2001 protests that gripped the country during its madcap financial crisis offered a sort of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Latin America, Politics, Public Space by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Graffiti Republic , , , , ,

La dignité d’un Portugal en tutelle

Chronique d’un court séjour au Portugal, sur fond de crise économique… C’est dimanche, mi-février 2012. Comme les quelques touristes perdus dans une Lisbonne hivernale, je profite de la journée pour aller visiter Belem et son fameux monastère. Débarquant à la station Cais-do-Sodré, je découvre cette marée humaine qui domine les rues, les monuments, les rails. […]

Posted in: Europe, Politics, Society and Culture by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on La dignité d’un Portugal en tutelle , , , ,

Occupy Toronto: One Month Later

On the morning of November 15th, governments in many cities around the world launched a coordinated crackdown on local Occupy movements, serving up eviction notices with plans to forcibly remove protesters from public spaces. If you haven’t already seen the herculean 17 hour livestream of the eviction of New York’s Occupy Wall Street by citizen […]

Posted in: Canada, Politics, Public Space by Karl Leung Comments Off on Occupy Toronto: One Month Later , ,

Photos of the Week: Occupy Wall Street

All of this week’s photos of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests were taken by Scott Lynch on September 22nd and October 2nd.

Posted in: Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture, United States by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Photos of the Week: Occupy Wall Street , , , ,

Marching for Ai Wei Wei

Ai Wei Wei has become a cause célèbre in Hong Kong since his arrest by mainland Chinese authorities on April 3rd. In the week since I wrote about “Chin Tangerine“, who covered the city with “Who’s Afraid of Ai Wei Wei?” graffiti, artists have rallied to Ai’s support with a blizzard of interventions, homages and […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Marching for Ai Wei Wei , , , ,

Who’s Afraid of Ai Wei Wei?

At three o’clock on Wednesday morning, the air beneath the Central Mid-Levels Escalator became thick with the fumes of spray paint as a young university student left a message on the escalator’s pillars: “Who’s afraid of Ai Wei Wei?” Over the past week, the student, nicknamed Chin, has blitzed some of Hong Kong’s most high-profile […]

The Death of a Village

It was bound to happen. 26 months after Tsoi Yuen Village received its death sentence, 100 police officers burst into the remaining villagers’ houses and told them to leave. The villagers were incredulous. “I was negotiating with the government peacefully only a few days ago,” one man, Cheung Sun-yau, told the South China Morning Post. […]

This is Argentina Crying

“Everything you foreigners know about Argentina,” the older gentleman asserted, “you know from that Madonna movie.” We’re standing in Palermo Viejo, a trendy neighborhood miles away from the buildings and blocks that pencil in postcard Buenos Aires. If his statement — referencing Evita, the 1996 musical melodrama about Argentina’s most charismatic first lady — were […]

Posted in: Latin America, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on This is Argentina Crying , ,

Footbridges

I dislike footbridges on principle, because they represent an abhorrent, machine-like view of the city: cars here, pedestrians there and never the twain shall meet. The city is reduced (like the Internet) to a series of tubes through which different modes of transportation travel as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s soul-destroying. But in a […]

Hong Kong’s Ticket to Political Strife

Here’s how to build a high-speed railway if you really want to piss off the public: don’t thoroughly consult the public, make sure it costs more than any other railway in the world (US$330 million per kilometre is a good starting point) and bulldoze a rural village of 3,600 to make way for it. When […]