"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)
Some questions about crisis and the city
(These questions are motivated by a desire to think differently about the city as a site of social transformation. If we are to, in fact, ‘see like a city’ (Amin, 2013), we must abandon the selfsame critical postures that act as alibis for business-as-usual and re-connect with practices that seek to actively assemble and sustain the necessary conditions for radical political change.)
Is it not time to rethink how crisis has come to re-define the city?
Is it not the case that our concepts and practices are no longer adequate to building an alternative urbanism? If so, how might one act on the ‘nerve endings of urban inequality’ (Pieterse, 2008: 176)?
In what way can the city be re-occupied and re-imagined as a site of association and care, subversion and solidarity? Is it not desirable to contest the proliferating revanchisms that peddle fear and violence?
What might an urban politics that recognizes and responds to necessity and vulnerability actually look like? When will we finally call time on narrow institutional vehicles that celebrate development and profiteering?
Why should we accept the transformation of cities into crucibles of security and resilience? Why is it acceptable that so many are condemned to zones of bio-political abandonment and sustained exposure to a host of ecological risks?
Is it not the case that affordable sustainable housing is a right and is it possible to reconnect urban infrastructure with radical political action?
Can the ‘secular crisis’ of contemporary capitalism open a space for imagining new alternatives forms of urban dwelling?
Images: via http://openhouse2013.com/ and http://www.moma.org/