October 05, 2011
'Haussmannization' – the mid-19th-century programme of urban renewal in Paris named after the prefect in charge of it, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann – was specifically aimed at making it difficult or impossible for protestors or revolutionaries to take streets via the barricade. If alleys and small streets were difficult for armies to navigate, wide avenues were seen as unblockable, as well as conducive to the rapid transfer of troops or police around Paris. Haussmannization was translated for more than 100 years into other places around the world, from modernized megacities to US university campuses in the wake of the 1960s protests.Michael Sayeau in Frieze, via Verso Blogs.
Recent events in London seem to demonstrate that, due to various technological and ideological shifts, the days of the Haussmannized city street as a deterrent to protest are numbered. Barricades have given way to flash mobs, the targets have shifted toward the emporiums of consumerism, and the cat-and-mouse battles between the police and those who resist them take place nearly as often online as in the physical places of the city.