TAksIm aL-TAhrIr

According to his recent presentation, the Turkish PM is planning to pedestrianize Taksim Square, remove the bus stops, shift the traffic underground via tunnels.Tahrir and Taksim Squares have always received attention from politicians to be re-designed, probably not surprisingly when considering its visibility and symbolic importance within the broader public imagination.

Commenting on the call for pedestrianizing Tahrir square, I'd like to quote from a letter sent to the mayor of Istanbul in response to a similar action in Taksim square that shares a lot of similarities with Tahrir square.Taksim as well as Tahrir are not ordinary squares as both are central transit nodes, providing connections for buses, minibuses, taxis, the metro same as Tahrir sq. Also both squares represents a political spaces in the social history of Cairo and Istanbul. I've chosen the following quotes as i think they are truly valid in Tahrir square as well as they are in Taksim.

"The most radical intervention could be the removal of the transit stations. But it is difficult to avoid Taksim being a center for vehicle traffic.....It is also difficult to imagine Taksim being like one of the romantic squares in Italy.
......Currently, police barriers are on one side and public toilets are on the other. It is the right decision to rearrange all these.....But if you empty Taksim, you risk turning it into [a vast Communist-style] square.
...Emphasizing that a city is a living organism.....A city might need something new.
...Discussion on Taksim Square without considering its political identity is incomplete right from the beginning.
....Vehicle and pedestrian traffic to be integrated.....Pedestrian access should also be increased,work should be done to integrate uses for parking and both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, rather than opening the square to pedestrians only.

Based on a personal experience, driving through Tahrir square during the first few days after it has been re-opened for the vehicles circulation after the 18 days protests have succeeded in overthrowing Mubarak. passing beside the museum towards Abdul Moném Riyad square, this zone was a battle field during 2 and 3 Feb. 2011, I remembered those who died for the freedom of the Egyptian people. it was interesting to see how the people reclaimed there right in this public space that used to be nearly pedestrian free space, mingling in harmony with cars and army vehicles. It was an intense experience that made me personally convinced that integrating vehicle and pedestrian circulation will be a better proposal.

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The people from the barrio built the city twice: during the day we built the houses of the well-off. At night and at weekends, with solidarity, we built our own homes, our barrio.

  —Andrés Antillano, resident of Caracas, April 15, 2004