FEATURE REPORT/ ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
This tongue in cheek article by Jeffries parodies (albeit with a liberal amount of grace) the issue of urban decay as a theatre set for romantic remodeling, or in other words, gentrification. Often associated with displacement of lower income coloured people, local community organizations have long fought against what can be seen as a violation of human rights. People who otherwise profess concern for the poor have tended to view gentrification as a mere annoyance, as though its harmful effects extended no further than the hassles of putting up with pretentious baristas and overpriced lattes. Clearly there is much more to the phenomenon of gentrification far beyond superficial city face-lifts.
A changing South Park is a reflection of a changing America, as creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed in the third episode of season 19. Rather than use South Park as a metaphor for more abstract things like the code of ethics and culture of America, this particular episode focused on the physical changes of cities and the impacts of gentrification. In “The City Part Of Town” the people of South Park attempt to boost their town’s image by updating lower income areas into vibrant cultural centers. And so those lower income areas get a makeover and become SoDoSoPa.
This article is a lighthearted, yet impactful read on issues of genuine equity, inclusion, race, participation, and at the core, decision making by the users of a city. It peels off a layer of gentrification and the tall claims made for social inclusion and community mixing, and questions, really, what is at the heart of gentrification?
Read the whole piece here
Published by The Guardian.
ONLINE PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK
‘The state of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015’
Published by UN Habitat
Asia and the Pacific is now home to 17 mega-cities (cities of over 10 million people), with the three biggest global cities—Tokyo, Delhi and Shanghai—all located in the region. Today’s 2.1 billion people living in the cities and towns of the 58 countries and territories of Asia and the Pacific already make up more than half the global urban population and the region now has the world’s largest and fastest-growing middle class, with colossal global impacts on consumption of goods and services.
The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 seeks to further contribute to policy-relevant literature on the region’s urban change. Specifically, as reflected in its subtitle, the report highlights growing gaps between current urbanisation patterns and what is needed to shift to a more inclusive and sustainable urban future, in which the role of the region’s cities is unquestionably tied to national, regional and global development prospects. For example, a key driver is the issue of transportation and accessibility, which policymakers feel should be a focus – by building urban settlements in which key destinations are easily reached without needing a car, providing a wide range of mobility options and establishing institutional transport assistance.
Read or download the publication here.
VIDEO/ PODCAST OF THE WEEK
Created by Grey Area Organization
As cities continue to grow and evolve, poverty, crime, urban blight, and other problems persist. In San Francisco, and the city’s Central Market district in particular, prevalence of these issues is among the highest in the nation. Similar challenges are reflected in urban centers across the nation and the world. The Urban Prototyping initiative addresses these challeneges by connecting cities and citizens with rapidly prototyped projects that can improve civic life. The video is a quick take on the collaborative environment created by bringing together artists, designers, technologists, and civic innovators. Dozens of prototypes are exhibited at large-scale Festivals, where they can be tested in the real world by thousands of people. Check out the video to catch a glimpse of a compelling vision for a different and better future which leverages latent creative potential.