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Cities – the age of austerity, megatrends and riding the storm . Early thoughts from Friends of the Earth. About the presentation. Present six ‘mega-trends’ relevant to cities Suggest a number of interventions necessary for cities to ride the storm

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Cities – the age of austerity, megatrends and riding the storm.

Early thoughts from Friends of the Earth

about the presentation
About the presentation
  • Present six ‘mega-trends’ relevant to cities
  • Suggest a number of interventions necessary for cities to ride the storm
  • Suggest cities have global commons and global well-being responsibilities
  • Make some concluding remarks and seek feedback
megatrends
Megatrends
  • Shifting power, bigger more integrated economies
  • A growing global economy but one that has reduced stability
  • A larger, more urbanised, and aging population
  • Environments stressed to breaking points
  • Slow reductions in discrimination but increasing economic inequality
  • Acceleration in the development of technologies
intervention 1 greater autonomy
Intervention 1 - Greater autonomy
  • Why?
    • Cities are different
    • Political disengagement demands more localism
    • Need for innovation
  • What?
    • Financial
    • Housing
    • Services & standards (incl. on multinationals?)
  • Risks?
    • For the elites?
    • Cast adrift?
    • Too small?
    • Ignore global commons?
intervention 2 participation
Intervention 2 - participation
  • Mixed record:

“In many cases, participatory budgeting has contributed to improved communications between citizens, the administration and the local political elite” but “municipal councils rarely use the citizens’ concrete proposals as a ‘compass’ for their final decisions…This is, among other things, due to the fact that central aspects of the budget are often not discussed in the participatory process.”

Sintemore (2008)

  • Skeffington Report
  • Urban constitutions?
  • Change needs support
intervention 3 shared resilient economies
Intervention 3 – shared resilient economies
  • Sharing is growing
  • Bristol pound and local economies
  • New technologies – 3D printing, synthetic biology, vertical farming, community energy
  • Not new but major potential
intervention 4 land
Intervention 4 - land
  • Land planning
  • Land taxes
  • Land tenure – land rights - not for gentrification

“Mumbai’s cynical attempts to redevelop Dharavi, India’s largest slum located on valuable land near the centre, with large commercial blocks replacing the fine urban grain of one of the city’s most sustainable communities, raises the spectre of 1960s ‘slum clearance’ programmes that devastated the social life and urban structure of so many European and American cities.”

LSE Cities Project (2012)

where could this lead us
Where could this lead us?
  • No guarantee of reduced inequalities or social and environmental well-being
  • Some could use powers to further win in dog eat dog competition
  • But, with political will, could lead to fairer, greener, more innovative cities (and networks)
global commons and well being1
Global commons and well-being
  • Cities and city networks growing
    • “Transnational municipal networks do not operate in isolation, and there is evidence that the interaction between municipal networks (and between municipal networks and others) is creating a new ‘web’ of climate governance that is in many ways as, if not more, important than the international climate change regime.”

Harriet Bulkeley, Durham University.

  • Have responsibilities so should be at the table
concluding thoughts
Concluding thoughts
  • Powerful megatrends
  • Cities need to more be masters of own destiny – with and for the people – but working with Governments
    • “Relations between centre and periphery are probably optimal when characterised by a diplomatic and mutually respectful relationship based on genuine relative autonomy, rather than by relations of dependence (or complete independence)..”

Simon Strezer, Historian, Cambridge University

  • Innovation is critical
  • Networks increasingly important
  • Feedback please