Politics Protest and Place:

The Role of Inclusive Urbanism in Civic Activism




The Forum

Proposal by Scott McGhee
Honorable Mention

The Forum, a two million-square-foot floating civic plaza, is envisioned for the Tidal Basin south of the Washington Monument and White House. The plaza is easily visible from the air and connected to key points around the Tidal Basin, placing it in dialogue with some of the most iconic sites in the city.

The Forum at the Tidal Basin


The plaza would be installed for a period of three months before being disassembled and reorganized for other cities around the United States. At these sites, smaller “seed” versions can be installed with the hope that they may grow and be shaped by their respective locations to serve “the people’s needs.”

The Forum is a new plaza for civic engagement, a place for the people to exercise their first-amendment rights

The Forum creates a place for large crowds to gather, broadcast messages, and hear voices


The structure of the plaza is made of identical high-density polyethylene airtight modules, which interlock and provide buoyancy. The surface is made of foamed rubber square pavers that are brightly colored on one side and black on the other. Either side can be installed and arranged so that messages by the people can be spotted at an enormous scale.

Floating on the Tidal Basin, The Forum is united by identical parts that together create a work of art and platform for change

The Forum will catalyze Washington, DC for three months before travelling across the country to communicate message by the people

When the plaza is divided for new sites, messages can be reimagined by its next inhabitants. An artwork in its own right, The Forum will attract attention and become a gathering place for concerts, speeches, artworks, and performances. When the plaza has served its purpose, it may be disassembled and recycled.

All photos courtesy of Scott McGhee
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