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Working paper

Public Space in Europe and Russia: ‘Europeanness’ and Re-Interpretation of Urban Public Space

Zhelnina A. A.
Following the protests in Russia in December 2011 and Spring 2012, interest in public space and how it is conceptualized has grown significantly. So too has interest in the existence of public spaces in cities. Before the protests, the term ‘urban public space’ was used rarely by a small number of specialists in urban planning and urban studies, but it did not exist in the public discourse. However, the unprecedented occupation of open spaces in Russian cities by protesters (both in the form of protest rallies and ‘Occupy Wall Street’-like presence in squares and boulevards) has lead to the discussion of the concept itself, and discussion of the limitations on and opportunities for the use of the urban space by city dwellers: the issue of the quality of the urban public life, public gatherings and spaces for them was raised by the media and the citydwellers.