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Book of proceedings : Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity : Fostering the European Dimension of Planning
(Universidade de Lisboa, 2017)
In an uncertain world that is rapidly changing economically, socially and culturally, cities and territories have become the common ground for resilient breakthroughs in the policies and practices of planning and design. These extreme times urge us to shift towards renewed actions in urban and less urbanised territories. Societal changes, disparities in population growth and incomes and consequential impacts on the sustainability of social services and labour markets, climate change and extreme natural events, complex social-economics trends, challenge us to debate and seek paths that lead to a progressive common future. The planning and urban minded communities are invited to join efforts under the flag of the next congress topic – SPACES OF DIALOG FOR PLACES OF DIGNITY: Fostering the European Dimension of Planning. A few of the ideas we may want to provide a platform for discussion include developing people’s wellbeing, promoting integrated and flexible planning approaches, encouraging collective engagement in urban and environmental management, inclusiveness and multiculturalism. From one of the most western cities in Europe we believe that we may address potential European urban futures and the need for opening effective dialogue and cooperation with other corners of the globe. We look forward to welcoming you in Lisbon and engaging with you in discussing these challenges.
Projections: 100 km2 of caatinga biome
This communication will address the transdisciplinary research that I develop today, where I transit through architecture and visual arts, collective properties and other forms of communal ownership and management of the land. I conducted a series of interviews with activists, architects, artists, lawyers, indigenous people in different locations around the world, proposing to them a fiction: Assuming that a few hectares of land are available in their context for the development of occupation and livelihood projects, what would you imagine doing with such an area? This provocation seeks, through the imaginary, to know and debate forms of social organization of space distinct from private property, in order to be constituted as a collection of utopias. We are facing a process of expulsion and a growing number of conflicts related to access to land, which makes the space increasingly restrictive and destructive of collective responsibilities, in the Brazilian and world context. Struggles and resistances trigger new regimes of sensibility and experiences of land repossession, and thus, the proposition of new forms of spatialization are necessary. What practices of land sharing can we imagine? What utopias can we construct to amplify the repertoire of the modes of occupation of the territory? These are the key issues. A construction of a map of utopias is an attempt to point out future social transformations. In this context, the Thislandyourland artistic brazilian group, formed by me and Ines Linke in 2010, develops projects in the field of visual arts, with the theme around the use and access to land. Projections: 100 km2 of Caatinga biome is a work in process, which investigates diverse imagery related to the Caatinga, an specific brazilian biome. Starting from a fiction that suggests that an area of 10km x 10km of Caatinga is made available and donated for the development of projects, several people or groups are invited to receive this fictional land donation and during interviews, idealize and expose their projects to this land extension. In this presentation I I will show some excerpts from interviews.
The right to the city in times of biopolitics – tactical urbanism in a transition program
The city is the greatest field of action of capitalism, but also the most possible field of resistance to it. Capitalism and urbanization feedback in a process where the former is always expanding, producing and concentrating geographically and socially its surplus in the city. Harvey (2014) points out that to think of an alternative form of urbanization, it is necessary to build possibilities for an anti-capitalist turn, thus pointing to the urgency of recognizing the common and its potency. And it suggests that this route of escape must start from a convergence between the microcosm of the body and the macro space of globalization, two important topics of the current neoliberal phase of capitalism. This convergence can be achieved in the affirmation of human and individual rights, a perspective that reinforces the importance of the concept of the right to the city, developed in the 1960s by Lefebvre (2016). A more collective right than individual, which encompasses all other human rights, claiming the participation of all in the construction and use of space and urban life. Thinking about the global world has made it possible to recognize a common world with which to worry, to produce, to appropriate, and which is shared by all. For Hardt & Negri (2016), the idea of 'common' was also potentialized with the understanding of the concept of biopolitics, whose subjectivities will always be produced by apparatus of power, whether of the sovereignty of the Empire or the resistance of the multitude. Thus, the 'right to the city' is considered as a strategy of transition from the current urban situation of the cities towards a situation of justice, of full realization of the common well-being. For the institutional redesign, necessary for this transition, Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2003) argues that, besides state and formal law, the forms of informal and unofficial law that he attributes to 'subaltern cosmopolitan legality' must also be considered. And to avoid wasting social experiences that seek to declare and exercise the rights that matter to them.
Green growth and transformation to sustainability: supplementation or contradiction?
It becomes evident that sustainable development cannot be a question of iterative changes and technical adaptation to a changing natural environment. Rather, it requires the transformation of major societal systems and processes such as production and consumption, mobility and land-use patterns as result of an approach shared and promoted by the majority of current society. In other words, a transformation to sustainability is required. In order to realize this demand for fundamental societal change, the transformation has to occur in the three pillars our society is based on: energy systems, urban areas as main emitters of greenhouse gasses and global land-use systems (WBGU, 2011: 48) which can also be identified as the main fields of intervention to pursue broad societal change (WBGU, 2011: 265). The spatial patterns of cities and city regions are urban systems which consume vast amounts of land and resources that exceed natural regeneration rates while degrading the environment. Furthermore, the vulnerability of cities and regions to climate change impacts and other biophysical and societal stressors such as the degradation of ecosystems and poverty (IPCC, 2014: 182) are consequences of long existing unsustainable societal structures and processes.
What are the new mega projects? An assessment of the dimensions of new large scale development projects
The spread of neo-liberal political and economic ideology and the proliferation of global capital have created new opportunities and challenges for cities everywhere (Sassen 2012). Within the urban planning discourse, it is generally assumed that globalization leads to the same type of transformations and urban development trends everywhere in the world. However, it cannot create a certain prototype for spatial development or a new spatial order for cities. Rather, it gives a variety of spatial patterns, also called "global urban forms". Recently, these forms have identified themselves spatially within a series of "megaprojects", their intensity being felt in today's global cities, north-American and west-European, but with a domino effect, especially in the cities situated at the periphery of these capitalist economies. In the last two decades, we witness a renaissance and reinterpretation of "mega projects" within the global cities as an exclusive model for urban development (Swyngedow et al. 2004). In the European and American context, after a hiatus during the 1980s, many of these cities have responded to the economic pressure and the process of globalization through major projects and mixed-use developments to attain investment opportunities, building new CBDs for multi-national companies and new sites for living1. Total global megaproject spending is assessed at USD 6-9 trillion annually, or 8 percent of total global GDP, which denotes the biggest investment boom in human history. Never has systematic and valid knowledge about megaprojects therefore been more important to inform policy, practice, and public debate in this highly costly area of business and government. It is argued that the conventional way of managing megaprojects has reached a "tension point," where tradition is challenged and reform is emerging (Flyvbjerg, 2011). As a response to the crisis of the comprehensive plan as the classic policy instrument of the Fordist age, the large, emblematic project has emerged as a viable alternative, allegedly combining the advantages of flexibility and targeted actions with a tremendous symbolic capacity. Essentially fragmented, this form of intervention goes hand in hand with an eclectic planning style where attention to design, detail, morphology, and aesthetics is paramount. The emblematic project captures a segment of the city and turns it into the symbol of the new restructured/ revitalized metropolis cast with a powerful image of innovation, creativity, and success. And yet, despite the rhetoric, the replacement of the plan by the project has not displaced planning from the urban arena. In fact, the literature reveals that in most examples there is a strong strategic component and a significant role for planning. However, in the process, there has been a drastic reorganization of the planning and urban policy-making structures and a rise of new modes of intervention, planning goals, tools, and institutions