In the city

Looking at the articles I was most interested in the youths’ political struggle with the park and and the ability to use this public space. The aspect that caught my eye was the way they expressed their feelings about the situation or rather how their protest was a silent one. It was their lack of participation that spoke the loudest and gained attention from others near them, involved, and even on a national level. The setting of space that was ,seemingly at least, intended for public use blocked that access to a specific demographic goes beyond just questionable action but condemnable when we are talking about a government’s choices regarding a public space. With the diversity of the people and types of space there are in the city what is the appropriate context for government control or restriction on a public space?  Certainly the maintenance of a common space’s preservation and safety are a concern for the government where they are charged with this task. If people using the space challenge these concerns they may be stripped of their access. It was the use of the park as a stage of protest that gave them negative attention and caused the friction with the police. Barring people on suspicion alone or challenging their free speech is where I think the regulation over steps its bounds.

I find this protest connects well with and also contrasts the occupy movement in the second article I read. The use of the public space as a protest area but in two very different ways. The Occupy movement was loud and at times violent. The intentions of the protesters were far more aggressive than the young people in the park, it was more than just a few disgruntled students involved and as the movement spread the numbers and the diversity of the people getting involved seemed to grow as well. Cities across the US and abroad each hosted at least a small part of the movement. The movement was hot and spreading fast, aggressive actions from both police and protesters just added fuel to the fire and gave justification for further action on both sides of the line. Frustration, anger, and fear down in the streets; underpaid and unemployed protesters going to battle with underpaid police. Looking at the two situations: a silent protest in a park in Scandinavia and an all out, international street protest. Both using public space as a stage to voice frustration and concern, both suppressed by government and police interventions. After a while the movements began to whither and eventually end.

On one hand the barring of people from a public space at certain times seems necessary to keep the area maintained, safe, clean, etc. On the other hand, especially in times of protest it seems more like a management ploy by the government to keep the status quo and keep them in power.

Side note: once again this class has challenge definition I had come to accept. Neoliberalism in the reading and in blog posts feels like it carries a much more negative feeling than what I had associated with it previously. This is in part because, like most of the readings, the term addresses its definition in a few directions and is somewhat vague about which ones we should entirely accept, dismiss, or blend.

In other geography classes and past reading neoliberalism is a side-effect of globalization, an opening of a nation to global network either culturally or economically. Not inherently good or bad but having potential for both for the global market and the nation. This definition really only applies to an international scale so working this into an urban or state sized scale was tricky. An possible example I think fits is in New Jersey when Camden after years of going through a state of emergency sized economic crisis and it could no longer fund its city police department crime rates reached an equal level to that of Haiti after the earthquakes. To alleviate the situation Governor Chris Christie joined the more affluent neighboring counties’ and mandated that they pay for Camden’s police force as well as other necessary developments. This ceased Camden’s previous isolation from most of the rest of the state and forced a closer relationship and network for the locale.

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