The little joys of public spaces

The great thing about flash mobs is how they have given a renewed recognition for the importance of the public sphere. What the flash mobs shows us is that despite the sometimes crowded and uncomfortable conditions, the public sphere is still the best place for communal experience. While they are rare and it is unlikely we will ever have the opportunity to actually witness a flash mob in action, the ubiquitous videos on YouTube give enough evidence to clearly show that witnessing one is a joyful experience. What the flash mob represents is an exaggerated example of the potential for random experiences only possible in the public realm. This can range from a random encounter with a friend, meeting a new friend or witnessing some form of street art or public performance. While some such experiences might be individual, often they are communal. The significance of positive communal experiences shouldn’t be overlooked either in efforts to make good public spaces, develop a sense of community and improve quality of life. If entering the public realm means there is a good chance we’ll have a positive, albeit random, experience, then people may be ever more willing to embrace communal and public spaces.

Below is a favorite flash mob video from YouTube: