Social Mobility and Inclusion – Can architectural and urban interventions help improve it?

I’ve recently started following this blog called {FAVEL issues}. They publish fascinating critical pieces about informality and informal lives. Here is new piece about architectural and urban interventions to address informality. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything this post says, I did find it interesting. Janice Perlman’s 25 minute lecture at the end is a must see for anyone interested in informality.

{FAVEL issues}

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Poverty and exclusion are two of the major issues that politicians – but more importantly in the context of this blog, architects, planners, and urban designers (or students of such professions) often refer to when they present projects of “improvement” or of spatial articulation between informal settlements and the formal city. Often, their final objective is to generate positive inclusion social mobility – that is, the movement of individuals or groups up (or down) from their current socio-economic level. And so, the question is: can architecture or design truly improve social mobility?

Janice Perlman, one of the few researchers that has continuously investigated life in favelas for more than forty years, published her latest book “Favela: Four decades of Living in the Edge in Rio de Janeiro” in 2010.[i] Last week, I had the opportunity to attend her presentation at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, and…

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Making cities slum free – A Dream

Another excellent piece from the Terra Urban blog about what it would take to make Indian cities actually “slum free”.

Terra Urban टेरा अर्बन

By Swathi Subramaniam, PRIA

A story of every city big or small…. Dreams are seen in urban cities. This dream brings people from all places to cities. Slums provide them an inexpensive shelter and are found in every city. They constitute close to half of the city’s population and this population is only to grow tremendously. While imagining a slum free city RAY guidelines opened new hopes at the policy level. But it cannot be achieved with only policy in mind. It needs lot of inclusive and interactive support of all stakeholders as well.

A city cannot become slum free unless the issues of the urban poor are connected with other issues of the city. Making India slum free is the biggest challenge which can only be achieved by ‘Breaking the rules’. Just like how a Primary Municipality school is considered a school of urban poor which lacks basic education quality…

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Inclusive Cities for Informal Workers

The post Inclusive Cities for Informal Workers challenges the inclusiveness of urban renewal schemes in the Global South as being exclusionary. I recently got hold of a new article by Ananya Roy called “Slum-free cities of the Asian century: Postcolonial government and the project of inclusive growth”.  Both that paper and this blog post, make a similar argument for the need to look at citymaking in the Asian Century as a “as a citationary structure which enables distinctive teleologies of development and projects of postcolonial power. More on this soon.
 

a metaphor for thesis completion?

I’ve recently had a few conversations about thesis writing and writing in general. I find writing hard, mainly because I am “burrowing” kind of writer, and as this post says, that is against almost everything one is taught about writing. One must learn to write in bits and pieces and multitask. Its multitasking when writing that is hard for me. I need to focus on one piece for at least a day before I can write but with all the other tasks at hand, I find that hard to do and hence it takes longer to write.

patter

I read a tweet not too long ago from Margaret Atwood. She announced that she was just about to ‘go down the writing burrow’ for a while.

Her metaphor of the writing burrow really struck me. The ‘burrow’ clearly signals that you will be out of communication for a bit. You’re going to be cut off, living in your own world, tunneling deep into ideas, hibernating until the writing is done.

The notion of the writing burrow also rings true to me. It suits those times when I have to be completely obsessed with producing a particular piece of text. But it flies in the face of all that writing advice which says that all you have to do is to write regularly every day and the big pile of words will just appear. You do have to write regularly, yes, but sometimes you have to do more – you…

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Eastern partners or chaotic neighbors? The contested geopolitics and geoeconomics of integrating Ukraine and Moldova

This brilliant analytic piece co-authored by UW student Austin Crane about the situation in Ukraine today, can be accessed at the Antipodefoundation.org website.

The authors write, ‘Hackneyed notions of Ukraine’s geographic position between worlds east and west continue to anchor media coverage, allowing for the present debacle to be repeatedly framed as a “civilizational choice” for Ukraine. Putin’s geostrategic vision entails transforming former-Soviet space from a “periphery of Europe and Asia” into an “independent centre of global development”. His recent State of the Nation address imagines a world made of “large geopolitical units” in which Ukraine and Russia share a common civilization. Like the EU’s civilizational spatial imaginary, Putin envisions a “project for the preservation of the identity of peoples, of historical Eurasian space in the new century and a new world”. Much like Brussels’ plans for the ENP, Moscow’s “absolute priority” is the “technical integration of the neighbours”.