"Zombie urbanism" and the search for new sources of solidarity

  • Let me start with a reminiscence: a few weeks ago, I was sitting in one of my preferred cafés in Paris, le Café Odéon- Théâtre de l’Europe, a vivid place near the Jardin de Luxembourg in the heart of the university quarter. I realised that the waiter was wearing a shirt with the letters "Defend Paris", which he explained to be a statement against the forces that make Paris an uneasy place to live, a defiance against the powerful and social injustice. With a mixture of rebellion and idealism, he added that he understands himself as part of a "Reclaim Your City" Movement, thus representing what is central for urban citizenship today: a republican defence against forces that make a metropolitan city a trademark to be sold to people who can afford it, but increasingly less a home for ordinary people who want to live in the city. Walking through the streets, passing a small jewelry shop, a place of distinguished understatement showing a picture of Meghan Markle wearing "rose"-earrings displayed in the window, the term "zombie urbanism" came to my mind – a term used by Jonny Aspen, professor at the Institute of Urbanism and Landscape in Oslo (See Bjerkeset and Aspen (forthcoming 2020) and here), to describe a cliché-like way of dealing with urban environment by developers and designers – a "staged urbanism", in which urban features are used as a means for selling, marketing and branding. This kind of city-marketing can prove quite successful: whereas the burning of Notre Dame mobilised hundreds of millions of donations within a short period of time, the burning of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro soon after, extinguishing 200 years of documentation of cultural memory, mobilised only 225.000 Euros (state 1.4.2019). ...

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Author:Sandra Seubert
Parent Title (German):Verfassungsblog
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of first Publication:2020/01/23
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/06/10
Tag:Citizenship; Urbanism; solidarity
Page Number:5
First Page:1
Last Page:5
Institutes:Gesellschaftswissenschaften / Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Wissenschaftliche Zentren und koordinierte Programme / Cornelia Goethe Centrum für Frauenstudien und die Erforschung der Geschlechterverhältnisse (CGC)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie / 300 Sozialwissenschaften
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 4.0