Public spaces are defined as places that should be accessible to all inhabitants without restrictions. They are spaces not only for gathering, socializing and celebrating but also for initiating discussions, protesting and demonstrating. Thus, public spaces are intangible expressions of democracy—a topic that the paper tackles its viability within the context of Alexandria, case study Al-Qaed Ibrahim square.
On the one hand, Al-Qaed Ibrahim square which is named after Al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque is a sacred element in the urban fabric; whereas on the other it represents a non-religious revolutionary symbol in the Alexandrian urban public sphere. This contradiction necessitates finding an approach to study the characteristic of this square/mosque within the Alexandrian context—that is to realize the impact of the socio-political events on the image of Al-Qaed Ibrahim square, and how it has transformed into a revolutionary urban symbol and yet into a no-public space.
The research revolves around the hypothesis that the political events taking place in Egypt after January 25th, 2011, have directly affected the development of urban public spaces, especially in Alexandria. Therefore methodologically, the paper reviews the development of Al-Qaed Ibrahim square throughout the Egyptian socio-political changes, with a focus on the square’s urban and emotional contextual transformations. For this reason, the study adheres to two theories: the "city elements" by Kevin Lynch and "emotionalizing the urban" by Frank Eckardt. The aim is not only to study the mentioned public space but also to figure out the changes in people’s societal behaviour and emotion toward it.
Through empowering public spaces, the paper calls the different Egyptian political and civic powers to recognize each other, regardless of their religious, ethnical or political affiliations. It is a step towards replacing the ongoing political conflicts, polarization, and suppression with societal reconciliation, coexistence, and democracy.