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Sign up for our email newsletters Get the latest about Library events, new programs and services and other Library news delivered to your inbox. Sign up now. In the process, the transformation of the areas outside City Hall into a Pops means it is no longer possible to protest outside the headquarters of the mayor and the Greater London Authority GLA. Or to take photos, apparently: when I was filming with Channel 4 there last year, we were swiftly removed from the property.
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This is nothing new. Given how all these developments seem to contradict stated city authority goals to increase public space that is actually publicly owned, one could be forgiven for thinking that the GLA is not actually in control of development in London. So what is it we expect to happen in public space? I experienced elements of this in the Phnom Penh National Stadium. But, when space is controlled, and especially when the public is unclear about what the legal or acceptable boundaries of activity are, we tend to police ourselves, to monitor our behaviour and to limit our interactions, especially after embarrassing confrontations with security.
Property owners are perfectly aware of this and prey on those sensibilities.
Unlike Trafalgar Square, it is also a Pops. Photographer Nicholas Goodden set up a tripod there recently to take a photo, and was immediately asked by security whether he had a permit to do so. When he said he did not, he was ordered to move across the canal to get his image. This would not have happened to a photojournalist in Trafalgar Square, which is owned by the Crown and managed by the Greater London Authority.
Moreover, an encounter with security like this may make you wary and cause you to confine your behaviour to a narrow range so as to avoid confrontation. Herein lies a crucial question: what happens when our small islands of freedom become indistinguishable from the rest of the city? While Occupy may seem like ancient history, these proceedings were important because they set a precedent: protest would not be tolerated in open-air private space. It is no coincidence that the aforementioned Lexicon lurker deployed a tent in his bogus ad.
So much for urban camping. Taking action by finding and using public space sidesteps the thorny, and frankly depressing, issue of what has been lost. Keeping a catch basin clear protects property from flooding and protects our water quality. Take the Budget survey We want to know your priorities for Budget and your thoughts on how we are managing our finances on your behalf.
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