Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Photopost: Occupy Philly as Spontaneous Urbanism, Pt. I

The Occupy movement has been getting increasing traction and airtime over the past few months, and roughly a month ago (already?) now a branch set up in Center City Philadelphia. Occupy Philly lays on the landscape of Dilworth Plaza, and occupies it the way a Mediterranean city a hillside.

The reason Occupy's tent city is emergent is because it is assembled from a fairly standard collection of individual units (tents), combined together in a highly complex and nonstandard order. It has both the virtues of high interconnectivity and quiet streets, achieved through a natural dual-level street hierarchy. The primary streets are, however, curved slightly and bend along City Hall's façade: the only perfectly straight road is the one between Market Street and City Hall's portal, currently being used as an amphitheater for voicing grievances.

So, without further ado, pictures!
South entrance
Looking towards the core. Note how broad path is being built over
South fountain area. The dry fountain seems to be a staging space
The library
This view shows the concentration of density around the City Hall portal
Looking north along a wider path
The art farts' corner...supposedly
A series of major plazas mark the north side of the Occupy Philly site now
Sharp boundary between urbanized and non-urbanized
Work ongoing. Foreground guy has a rather lackadaisical attitude...
Registration tents at the entrance to the site, 15th and Market
Sanitation tent just off the Market Street path
Amen, bro!
The city: the densest section is on the south side of the site
Looking towards a more pastoral north side
The homeless tent is surprisingly well away from the action. It is, however, on the main path right now.
Occurring urbanization. Lower tent densities, a slightly more pastoral vibe.
A yawning expanse between the edge of the urbanized area (approximately where I stood) and the north services area.
Looking south across this expanse
The sunken "waiting room" for transit--a space shied away from, even by Occupiers
Tents with a view seem to be in demand
The north services area
Far from the centers of the site--the Market Street area and the north services area--the libertarians set up camp at 15th and JFK.
That's all for this post. Next post I'll be documenting changes to the site in the week elapsed.

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