by Renard Teipelke
Kenya Vision 2030: “A national long-term development blue-print to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030, that aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.”
Sounds good, social, and sustainable. Let’s move on to the ‘Thika Superhighway’ – a formerly four-lane road between Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, and the industrial satellite town of Thika to the North, which was expanded to eight to twelve lanes for approximately 360 Mio. USD from 2009 to 2012:
by Renard Teipelke
The Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn on the first weekend of June 2013 was thought of as an event where climate change, natural hazards, and urban resilience are discussed – most often with case studies from the Global South. If, for instance, the issue of floods is raised, Bangladesh, Thailand, or other South and South-East Asian countries are regularly mentioned. That was different this time: The flood has returned to Central Europe. What I have been working on for countries like Madagascar, Pakistan, or Cameroon has been ‘coming home’. I am attending the Resilient Cities Congress in Bonn, hear lessons about land use planning in flood-prone areas and on the TV screens horrible images are shown of the Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany being hit by disastrous floods – my old hometown included. Continue reading
“After crunching the numbers, it becomes clear that the taxes paid by the financial sector in the boom years should just about cover the cost of the bailout, but definitely not the costs of the wider recession, increased government debt, and subsequent austerity measures. The City’s job creation claims do not stand up to scrutiny, whilst a wealth-extracting financial system is fuelling inequality and hampering the chances of the rest of the economy.
Success in the financial sector has come at the expense of other parts of the economy. Yet we still seem to find ourselves being blackmailed by our so-called golden goose.”
via Mythbusters: “The City is vital to Britain” | new economics foundation.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of a growing number of winter farmers’ markets. (Photo: Tory Field)
“Some advocates are strict in their commitment to local sourcing, envisioning an entirely local diet. Others believe that if something can’t be grown in a region and is imported, the price should more closely reflect the true costs, including the environmental impacts of transporting the far-flung food.
Taken alone, “local” or “organic” doesn’t necessarily equate “sustainable.” Local foods can be grown with heavy pesticides or without respecting workers’ rights. And today we have the Walmart-ization of organics, which replicates some of the same destructive practices of industrial agriculture. An increasing amount of organic produce is grown on industrial-sized farms, utilizing harmful practices like monocropping and poor water and soil management, and more of it is being shipped around the globe.”
via Bringing the Food Home: Local Food and Agricultural Systems.
Foll0wing the brutal dispersion and attacks on protesters occupying Gezi Park, Domus publishes an account of the events by sociologist and professor Pelin Tan, with pictures by activist Eunseon Park:
“The transformation of the the urban environment has become a usual strategy for the government and municipalities in Turkey. For the Turkish government, new urban policies have become a justification for acts of segregation, encouragement of a neoliberal capitalist lifestyle, the progressive indebtment of citizens, exploitation, racism, corruption and the installment of a “state of exception” that violates human rights.
Originally an urban movement, the occupation of Gezi Park has transformed into a public movement. It is not only about protecting a green space and protesting against the construction of a new shopping mall, rebuilding a previous Ottoman military barrack in order to strengthen the pro-Ottoman identity. Instead, the occupation is a symbol of “being together”, commoning together, in spite of our differences in Istanbul. Here, people from different classes and environments gathered, and neighbourhood and cultural movements were involved before political organisations and opposition groups.”
via DOMUS A report from Gezi Park.
Twelve English towns that have been chosen to participate in a scheme known as The Portas Pilots, designed to help to rejuvenate their shopping areas. The towns will implement ideas put forward by retail expert and television personality Mary Portas. The government will make £1.2m available to fund the schemes. Professor Cathy Parker comments on the project:
by Renard Teipelke
In my last article, I wrote about Frankfurt’s high ranking amongst German cities with regard to locational qualities, and I discussed the city’s high livability. While reasons for the good ranking of Frankfurt are found quickly, the logical next question is about the reasons for Frankfurt’s actually good standing. Obviously, we could turn to a multitude of (partly wrong) theories on how cities become successful, ranging from planning utopia to hard neo-liberal recipes, or from the eco city to the creative city.
Monday, June 3rd, 6 – 8 PM
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Universitätsstraße 3b, 10117 Berlin ( S- und U-Bahnhof Friedrichstraße), Room 205
Title: Changing patterns of care and neighbouring in crisis-ridden Athens
Prof. Dina Vaiou
Since 2009, analyses and explanations about the crisis in Greece, with very few exceptions, have focused mainly on macroeconomic aspects, such as the size and viability of the public debt and a range of possible (neoliberal) measures towards its management. The emerging dominant discourse has made key aspects of the crisis “unmentionable”; such aspects include on the one hand the role of neoliberal pacts, the operation of the eurozone and existing uneven development patterns. On the other hand it has also made “unmentionable” the social effects of the measures taken, which are unevenly felt and endured among Greek people. My presentation, based on research in Athens, takes changing patterns of care and the geographies of care deficits as a starting step from which to discuss how severe deficits in care have developed in the pre-crisis decades, thereby setting the scene for later arrangements; to examine how such deficits have been met by recourse to the low paid labour of migrant women, thereby displacing care deficits to the places where these women have come from; to argue about the ways in which these arrangements of care go beyond personal(ised) service and include a whole range of everyday practices and neighbourly relations which extend along a series of geographical scales. Finally, the presentation proposes to reflect upon (re)definitions of neighbourhood and neighbouring and upon the prospects of such arrangements and negotiations of gender power in the context of the crisis.
“Globalisation has made us increasingly interdependent. These international corporations are the big beneficiaries of globalisation – it is not, for instance, the average American worker and those in many other countries, who, partly under the pressure from globalisation, has seen his income fully adjusted for inflation, including the lowering of prices that globalisation has brought about, fall year after year, to the point where a fulltime male worker in the US has an income lower than four decades ago. Our multinationals have learned how to exploit globalisation in every sense of the term – including exploiting the tax loopholes that allow them to evade their global social responsibilities.”
via Globalisation isn’t just about profits. It’s about taxes too | Joseph Stiglitz | Comment is free | The Guardian.
by Ares Kalandides and Markus Kather
After an introduction into the German and Berlin green planning instruments (Part 1) and two examples of gardens from Berlin ( Part 2), here is the 3rd and last part of the blog entry.
Prinzessinnengärten started as a temporary gardening project in 2009, in an empty plot in the midst of a multicultural neighbourhood at Moritzplatz in Kreuzberg. The idea, which one of the initiators brought from Cuba, was to create a place in the city where people would grow their own food and exchange ideas: a production as well as a meeting place. Vegetables and herbs are mostly grown in crates to permit transportation, in case the 6000 square metre garden needs to move; there is a garden kitchen and a café. Prinzessinnengärten attracts huge attention, with several thousand visitors a year and was even presented at the world EXPO in Shanghai. The state of Berlin leases the plot to the initiative, which pays a rent. Continue reading