Raised in the historic city of Isfahan, Mohammad Gharipour received
his Ph.D. in Architectural Theory and History from Georgia Institute of
Technology in 2008 and Masters of Architecture from the University of Tehran in
2000. He teaches architecture at Morgan State University and is the Director and Founding Editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. His
areas of research include Japanese traditional and contemporary architecture,
Persianate gardens and architecture, and restorative environments. He is the
recipient of Spiro Kostof fellowship award from the Society of Architectural
Historians (SAH) in 2008 and the author of several publications including Persian Gardens and Pavilions: Reflections in
Poetry, Arts and History(I.B. Tauris, 2013). in 2014, Dr. Gharipour was presented with the National Endowment for Humanities Faculty Award for his research on Synagogues of Isfahan, Iran.
Nejad, Reza Masoudi. “The Spatial Logic of the Crowd: The Effectiveness of Protest in Public Space.” In International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Volume 2, Number 1 (pp. 157-178), edited by Mohammad Gharipour, Bristol: Intellect, 2013.
The result of the 2009 Iranian presidential election sparked protests in the streets of Tehran. This article focuses on the spatial logic of crowd occurrence and the role played by protest location in its effectiveness. Although the symbolism of space is pronounced in crowd studies from Gustav Le Bon to Charles Tilly, there is a lack of attention to the logic of crowd culmination and movement in relation to actual physical urban spaces. There are new studies examining how public space is utilized during times of political turmoil; these studies, however, focus mostly on the specific place of protest, and do not examine crowd dynamics in the city at large. This article, in contrast, contributes to the understanding of the spatial logic of mass occurrence by examining the city structure as a whole. It argues that the location of a public space in a city is far more important than its symbolic connotations, and that, following Tilly, the impact of crowds depends not only upon the what he calls WUNC equation (representing Worthiness, Unity, Numbers and Commitment of a crowd), but also on the spatial characteristics of the place of the protest.
Keywords: Tehran; crowd; protest; public space; space syntax; uprising