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29. Art And Cities

In the early 1990s, when China’s artists were less able to participate in open debate about the shape of Chinese society, they turned to the production of urban space instead. “If you want to see the political impact of Chinese artists, we can look to the city in order to see that.” Dr Christen Cornell After the 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square, Chinese cities entered a period of radical social and spatial reorganisation. During the process, artists began to move from the countryside into...


28. Land Enclosure II

PART II - How much public land has been stolen from the British people? The short answer is, a lot! We’re talking to Professor Brett Christophers from Uppsala University about his new book, The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain. And it’s a story that we just couldn’t squeeze into one episode, so alas, we’ve given the next two episodes of City Road over to exploring the ideas in the book. In the first episode we talk about the old enclosure acts of the...


27. Land Enclosure 1

PART I - How much public land has been stolen from the British people? The short answer is, a lot! We’re talking to Professor Brett Christophers from Uppsala University about his new book, The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain. And it’s a story that we just couldn’t squeeze into one episode, so alas, we’ve given the next two episodes of City Road over to exploring the ideas in the book. In the first episode we talk about the old enclosure acts of the...


26. Democracy and Cities II

In cities around the world, people are channeling their frustration with existing community engagement processes into the creation of urban alliances. These alliances bring together diverse civil society actors in pursuit of social change. This is the second part of our two-part discussion about democracy and cities. We talk to Amanda Tattersall about how urban alliances work in practice in different cities around the world. We travel to Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain,...


25. Global Cities

We talk to Saskia Sassen about her work on globalisation and the global city by tracing the key ideas in three of her books. We start with Saskia's most famous book, 'The Global City', and the idea of intermediation in the global city. We move onto Saskia's historical and, as Saskia suggests, her best book, 'Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages' to discuss the methodological tools of capacities, tipping points and organising logics. We end our discussion with...


24. Democracy and Cities I

After the Arab Spring, Occupy and the Umbrella Movement the streets were cleared. But as the dust was settling some more durable democratic experiments emerged. These urban alliances sought to make our cities more equitable places to live. In this two-part episode on democracy and cities we’re talking about a new type of political movement that is forming in different cities around the world; its called an urban alliance. In this first episode, Associate Professor Kurt Iveson sets up the...


23. Diversity and Cities

In Sydney, changing international migration patterns and the rise of apartment living means people of different cultural backgrounds are regularly interacting with each other inside their high-density buildings. And it’s not without its problems. In 2016, it was estimated that around 55 per cent of the world's population now lived in cities. By 2030, urban areas are projected to house 60 per cent of the world’s population. While migration and compact city policies are rarely seen as...


22. Planning Multispecies Cities

We’re talking about extinction, climate change, urban development and urban planning futures. Dr Donna Houston says urban planners need to be more attuned to the ecological realities and rhythms of our cities. “The longer view, but also the responsibility. So cosmo-ecological is also to put one self into obligation or responsibility; in a way that... Western euro-centric or anthropocentric practices don’t do”. Dr Donna Houston As urbanists, we need to imagine a different type of future to...


21. Smart Meters and Cities

We face an energy governance trilemma: of peak demand for electricity in cities; ensuring prices remain low; and addressing climate change with renewable technologies. And your home is right in the middle of this energy trilemma. A Smart Electrical Metre fitted to your home might just be the technology that pushes you into a more data-driven, digitally networked and automated energy world. But what do smart metres mean for you, your household and your home? "So the main benefit of the...


20. Design Thinking and Cities

Everyone is talking about design thinking! But what, exactly, is design thinking? And how do these ideas relate to city making? Design thinking is an increasingly valued skillset across a wide range of industries, with high demand for design-based skills in the workplace. Organisations are increasingly looking to theories of design to improve their businesses and the services and products they offer. But can these ideas also be applied to city making? Dr Martin Tomitsch is Associate...


19. Secret Life of a Degree

The Sydney Bachelor of Architecture degree has a lively history. It was open to men and women from its first offering in 1918, but the inclusion of women was controversial. In 1972 a student strike shut down the school for two weeks; students demanded the degree be remade. "In 1926... the University of Sydney put forward Marjorie [Holroyde nee] Hudson, a female student, for the award; and this really set the cat amongst the pigons. And the document we have from the Board of Architects...


18. Working With a Street

Imagine building a life size (1:1 scale) model of your urban design right there on the street to communicate and test your design ideas with local communities. This is exactly what Evelina Ozola and her Fine Young Urbanists colleague Toms Kokins did in Latvia with the tools of tactical urbanism. Evelina wants architects, urbanists and designers to be more proactive in their practice, and to engage more directly with issues concerning the spatial environment and communities in cities. "We...


17. Becoming a Utopian

The utopian visions of architects, planners, philosophers and sociologists are important speculative projects. We take a deep dive into the idea of utopia with Professor Danilo Palazzo, who calls on us to become utopians. “We are all utopians, as soon as we wish for something different and stop playing the part of the faithful performer or watchdog”, argued Henri Lefebvre. Cities have often been used as the laboratory for the imaginations of better futures. Such thinking recognises that...


16. Urban Renewal and Cities

What role does the government play in facilitating displacement through transit-led development? We often hear about the role of the private sector, private landlords, and the purchasing power of individual real estate buyers in urban renewal, gentrification and displacement debates. The planning of new transit systems and overheating housing markets has renewed interest in understanding the role of government in neighbourhood change, specifically in the context of gentrification and...


15. Parks and Cities

In New York, where anything’s possible, the privatisation of Manhattan's Central Park is even stranger than fiction. I imagine that few people would choose to travel back in time to visit the run down and quite frankly often dangerous Central Park of 1970s Manhattan. But many people don't realise that a casual and relatively safe stroll through Central Park today has come at significant cost to the park’s maintenance workers. "My dream is to have the park system privatised and run entirely...


14. City Boom, City Bust

Australian cities are awash with construction activity. From Collingwood to Kogarah, Marrickville to Newstead, every passing month seems to bring with it a new, sold-off-the-plan high-rise apartment tower. Real estate, it seems, is the true national sport. Australia now hosts the world’s most active market for securitised home loans and has the world’s second highest, and rising, levels of household debt. There are reportedly more cranes in the east coast capital cities than all of North...


13. Pop Up Cities

Pop-up, Guerrilla, DIY or Tactical Urbanism; whatever the name, temporary urban interventions are increasingly popular in contemporary cities. From community gardens and pop-up cinemas to outdoor art installations and mobile libraries, pop-up urbanism can take many forms. Much of the discussion about pop-up urbanism is celebratory in tone, highlighting the ways in which these transient practices are putting on display alternative lifestyles, reoccupying urban space with new uses, or...


12. Antagonistic Cities

What are the possibilities for community action that hold powerful urban actors to account? Strategic antagonism and the spaces that community alliances are opening up themselves to engage with urban development might hold the answer. It is not only urban planners and the formal planning system that shape the way residents contribute to the planning of their city. In Sydney, local resident action groups and other urban alliances are working beyond the market-centred urban planning system...


11. Automated Landlord

This is a story about how the financial industry and governments turned a housing foreclosure crisis for everyday Americans into a financial opportunity for institutional real estate investors. And like all good stories, it involves the management of the new post-GFC housing asset class with digital technologies and algorithms. Say hello to The Automated Landlord. We talk to Desiree Fields about a new housing asset class that emerged from other side of the GFC in the United States. The...


10. History and Cities

In Washington, DC, neighbourhood activists attempted to make themselves at home in their city by using the techniques of neighbourhood preservation. What became clear in that process is that those who control the historical narrative about a neighbourhood often have the power to shape its character and identity. We talk to Cameron Logan, author of Historic Capital: Preservation, Race and Real Estate in Washington, DC., about the fragility of history and the battles over the past in the US....