Performance by Bistaki at Five Points MARTA

Did you know that there’s an awesome outdoor theater on top of the Five Points MARTA station? Neither did I, until this Friday when I enjoyed an excellent (and indescribable) performance by the G. Bistaki Company from France. It was part of the Elevate Atlanta arts week.

The music echoing through Five Points, the shadows on the station and surrounding buildings, the unique view from the theater seats — it all made for a very memorable night.

Everyone: write to MARTA and encourage them to use this space more often for performances! It has sat empty and unused for years and years. It’s an incredible resource.

The Importance of Urban Public Spaces for AssemblyI’ve been feeling inspired by the Occupy Atlanta movement happening in Woodruff Park, a block away from my building. I’m glad that we have a public space for assembly like this park in a highly visible part of downtown Atlanta.
Thinking about the importance of public spaces in cities as points of assembly for protest — I’m reminded of a post called Liberation Squares by Vishaan Chakrabarti, published in Urban Omnibus earlier this year.
Quotes:

Public spaces like Tompkins Square, Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square have been stages for history because they provide the loci for urban gathering, particularly for a city’s youth. After all, if the revolution is to be televised, from where else would it be broadcast? …And perhaps this is the primary lesson about public space. That beyond our day-to-day needs for it be clean, amenable, and safe, it also has to allow for the expression of instability, for the expression of a world ever in need of change.

In the car-dependent, suburban environment, there are no places like Woodruff Park that offer public spaces with visibility for protests. The only open spaces around high-traffic areas in the sprawlburbs are privately-owned parking lots. At least the cars have a place to assemble
Photo by Curtis Compton, AJC

The Importance of Urban Public Spaces for Assembly

I’ve been feeling inspired by the Occupy Atlanta movement happening in Woodruff Park, a block away from my building. I’m glad that we have a public space for assembly like this park in a highly visible part of downtown Atlanta.

Thinking about the importance of public spaces in cities as points of assembly for protest — I’m reminded of a post called Liberation Squares by Vishaan Chakrabarti, published in Urban Omnibus earlier this year.

Quotes:

Public spaces like Tompkins Square, Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square have been stages for history because they provide the loci for urban gathering, particularly for a city’s youth. After all, if the revolution is to be televised, from where else would it be broadcast?

…And perhaps this is the primary lesson about public space. That beyond our day-to-day needs for it be clean, amenable, and safe, it also has to allow for the expression of instability, for the expression of a world ever in need of change.

In the car-dependent, suburban environment, there are no places like Woodruff Park that offer public spaces with visibility for protests. The only open spaces around high-traffic areas in the sprawlburbs are privately-owned parking lots. At least the cars have a place to assemble

Photo by Curtis Compton, AJC

I’m really enjoying the spring greenery downtown. This is a plaza between the Carnegie Building (Marriott Courtyard hotel) and the central library.

I’m really enjoying the spring greenery downtown. This is a plaza between the Carnegie Building (Marriott Courtyard hotel) and the central library.

This is a nice video of pedestrian improvements in NYC. It has many beautiful scenes of public spaces with tables and chairs, all being filled with professionals, residents and visitors as they take a break from walking around the city.

It shows how wonderful an urban space can be when it’s built primarily for pedestrians while still allowing for car movement.

Much of intown Atlanta seems built primarily for cars, though I’m enjoying seeing pedestrian-friendly improvements come along in bits and pieces. I hope that some day Atlanta has so much activity from pedestrians that there’s a demand for widespread public spaces like those in this video.

On a warm, sunny week day you can get a taste of this kind of public space in the Woodruff Park Reading Room, barely visible on the left of my photo below. Sadly, the hot dog vendor in this photo no longer sets up in Woodruff Park because the vagrants gave him too much trouble — I’m confident that the vagrant/non-vagrant ratio in Atlanta’s public spaces will change in time, though.

woodruff park

(via humanscalecities)

(Source: ateneonaider.com)