Constructs — Architecture Competition by

‘Constructs’ competition launched to Essay Writing Competition — Public spaces and protests by

3 min readMar 6, 2022


Fig: 1 — Tahrir square focal point of Egyptian Revolution (Credits-Ahmed Abd El-Fatah)

Public places and voices

Public space is a form of democracy. It is a space of freedom of movement, expression, and most importantly, it is our first contact with a city. In cities around the world, urban spaces such as urban squares, markets, streets, temples, and parks have long been the centers of civic life for urban dwellers. They provide opportunities for gathering, socializing, recreation and festivals.

Aside from recreation, public space has also been seen as an expression of power and a subject of political control. Under medieval monarchy in the West or during colonial rule, public spaces were where political power/protests were staged, displayed, and legitimized. In the totalitarian societies of recent times, certain large public spaces serve as military parade grounds — a raw display of power to impress citizens as well as imbibe fear in enemies. Over time as the power has shifted to the people, public spaces have at last provided a legitimate space for protests and demonstrations — an expression of the freedom of speech.

The essay seeks to explore how and in what ways can our community and public spaces react to protests and demonstrations of power.

Fig: 2 — Construction materials used as barricades for protests in Hong Kong (Credits- Kim Cheung)

Questions to address

In your research, you should particularly reflect on how public spaces and today’s political protest affect each other. The views are expected to be analytical and precise.

What is a public space? And how has it changed in past years?

  • What is your understanding of a protest or a power demonstration and it was/is displayed?
  • How do our public spaces transition in times of protests/political action? Are they equipped to handle the chaos? If yes, how do spatial parameters of public space help to amplify dialogue?
  • Can these parameters be controlled? If yes, how and in what ways?

With increasing political instability around the world,

How do we achieve a good design of our future public space that is not only for passive and active recreation but also provides the opportunity of freedom of speech and open dialogue for all?

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Constructs | Political Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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