Politics of public space 1

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The Politics of Public Space: Public Lectures in Contentious Spaces (Volume 1)gathers together a series of lectures that emerged out of a program of seminars and design studios led by Melbourne design and research practice Office (as part of its teaching within the architecture and landscape architecture disciplines at RMIT University). As a registered charity, Office operates within and between practice. This adjacency garners the practice a position to directly explore the question of professional ethics through a range of scales, practices and approaches, from furniture design through to broader landscape-scale investigations. This first volume in what is aiming to be a series of quarterly publications, self-reflexively asks, “How may we better engage and understand our own city, particularly its public spaces?” Primarily concerned with the politics of the built environment within the City of Melbourne, the lectures presented in the book were conducted in contentious public spaces over 2018 and 2019, using the physical site as a theatrical stage for oration. Like a fleeting happening, the location of each lecture was released tactically through an Instagram tip-off. The publication attempts to fix the activism of these discourses and enable their wider dissemination, beyond the lecture event itself.