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Arab Spring 2011: The Role of Public Spaces and Digital Spaces


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How technology and urban design influenced each other during the Arab Spring in three Middle Eastern cities: Cairo, Tunis and Manama.

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Arab Spring 2011: The Role of Public Spaces and Digital Spaces

  1. 1. ARAB SPRING The role of Public Spaces and Digital Spaces in the Arab Spring 2011
  2. 2. THE ARAB SPRING The democratic uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011. Originated in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly took hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
  3. 3. PUBLIC SPACES Bourguiba Avenue Tunis, Tunisia Tahrir Square Cairo, Egypt Pearl Roundabout Manama, Bahrain
  6. 6. TUNISIA Public Space POPULATION (2012) Digital Space INTERNET USERS (JUNE 2012) 10,732,900 4,196,564 LAND AREA FACEBOOK USERS (DEC 2012) 163,610 km² 3,328,300 Source:
  7. 7. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION December 18, 2010 - January 14, 2011 Sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old Tunisian street vendor, on December 17, 2010. Led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 28 days later on 14 January 2011, when he officially resigned after fleeing to Saudi Arabia, ending 23 years in power. CAUSES RESULTS CASUALTIES Government corruption Inflation Unemployment Political repression Overthrow of Ben Ali government Resignation of PM Ghannouchi Dissolution of the political police Dissolution of the RCD Release of political prisoners Elections to a Constituent Assembly Deaths 338 Injuries 2,147 Source:
  8. 8. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Avenue Habib Bourguiba
  9. 9. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Avenue Habib Bourguiba WIDTH EAST END WEST END 60 m Lake Tunis Place de l’Indépendance (and Avenue de France) Central thoroughfare of Tunis. Aligned in an east-west direction, lined with trees and facades of shops, and fronted with street cafes on both sides. Important monuments: Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul, French Embassy in Tunisia and Théâtre municipal de Tunis. Its proximity to the Interior Ministry made it an important public space for the protesters during the big demonstration on January 14, 2011. Source:
  10. 10. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Twitter Source:
  11. 11. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Twitter Number of tweets mentioning Tunisia 329,000,000 Number of tweets mentioning #sidibouzid 103,000+ Number of people mentioning Tunisia in tweets 50,000+ Reach in terms of Twitter users 26,000,000 Source:
  12. 12. TUNISIAN REVOLUTION Facebook Virtual-reality scientist Samir Garbaya looked at Facebook posts during the revolution, and measured how much time it took for posts to result in responses like comments. November December 17 4 days 8 hrs January 1 January 14 2 hrs 3 mins Streetbook The transfer of the interaction from social networks to manifestation in the real world, on the street. Source:
  14. 14. EGYPT Public Space POPULATION (2012) Digital Space INTERNET USERS (JUNE 2012) 83,688,164 29,809,724 LAND AREA FACEBOOK USERS (DEC 2012) 1,001,450 km² 12,173,540 Source:
  15. 15. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION January 25, 2011 – February 11, 2011 The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 took place following a popular uprising that began on January 25, 2011. Millions of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. CAUSES RESULTS CASUALTIES Police brutality Political censorship Widespread corruption High unemployment Food price inflation Low minimum wages Overthrow of Mubarak government Assumption of power by Armed Forces Democratic election held Writing of a new constitution Deaths 846 Injuries 6,467 Arrested 12,000 Source:
  16. 16. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Tahrir Square
  17. 17. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Tahrir Square Major public town square in Downtown Cairo, Egypt, also known as “Martyr Square”. Centre of Tahrir Square: large and busy traffic circle. Important monuments: Egyptian Museum, NDP headquarters building, Mogamma government building, Headquarters of the Arab League building, Nile Hotel, Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church, original downtown campus of the American University in Cairo. Source:
  18. 18. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Tahrir Square January 25 = 25,000 protesters January 28 January 31 February 1 Source:
  19. 19. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Facebook “Kullena Khaled Said” — “We Are All Khaled Said.” Facebook page created by Wael Ghonim, a 29-year-old Google marketing executive, in June 8, 2010. Two minutes after he started his Facebook page, 300 people had joined it. Three months later, that number had grown to more than 250,000. He changed the name of the page’s biggest scheduled rally from “Celebrating Egyptian Police Day — January 25” to “January 25: Revolution Against Torture, Poverty, Corruption and Unemployment.” Source:
  20. 20. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Twitter Trending Hashtag Volume Worldwide Source:
  21. 21. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Internet Blackout
  22. 22. EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION Internet Blackout Source:
  24. 24. BAHRAIN Public Space POPULATION (2012) Digital Space INTERNET USERS (JUNE 2012) 1,248,348 961,228 LAND AREA FACEBOOK USERS (DEC 2012) 694 km² 413,200 Source:
  25. 25. BAHRAIN REVOLUTION February 14, 2011 – ongoing Protests were initially aimed at achieving greater political freedom and equality for the majority Shia population. Expanded to a call to end the monarchy of King Hamad following a deadly night raid on 17 February 2011 against protesters at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. CAUSES GOALS CASUALTIES Corruption Discrimination against Shias Unemployment Slow pace of democratisation Abdication of King Hamad Constitutional monarchy Rewrite the Constitution Ending human rights violations Equality for Shias Fair elections and freedom Deaths 93 Injuries 2,900+ Source:
  26. 26. BAHRAIN REVOLUTION Pearl Roundabout
  27. 27. BAHRAIN REVOLUTION Pearl Roundabout Served originally as a major traffic intersection for routes into the capital city. Was located in the heart of the capital Manama and was surrounded by the Bahrain Central Market, Marina, Pearl and City Center Roundabout, Abraj Al Lulu apartment complex. 150,000 – 300,000 protesters. Destroyed on March 18, 2011, by government forces as part of a crackdown on protesters during the Bahraini uprising.
  28. 28. ARAB SPRING Role of Social Media Grassroots mobilization Organize the rise of civil society and active citizenship Counter rumor or propaganda tool Helped people analyze government statements Source:
  29. 29. ARAB SPRING The role of Public Spaces and Digital Spaces in the Arab Spring 2011