Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why the ecocity needs to be a just city

(This is one of a series of articles to coincide with the 2017 Ecocity World Summit in Melbourne)
Why is it easier to imagine an ecocity – full of lush green spaces and buildings, footpaths and bike lanes, outdoor goat yoga and dog parks – than a just city where everyone belongs? Why is it difficult to imagine a city where there are no great disparities of income or of access to convivial life because these have been equitably distributed?
Why is it easier to imagine a green ecocity than a just city where everyone belongs?
The prospects for rebuilding the city along ecological lines is enchanting. But ecocities, like smart cities, frequently devolve into a techno-fetishist fantasy, (un)wittingly abetting gentrification – from the sell-off of public housing in cities like Sydney to violent informal housing eradication in places like Jakarta.

Part of what’s required here is to connect the currents of imagination shaping the ecological future of cities with other conversations that are more focused on the future of employment and industry and the possibilities for greater equity. Thinking these disparate ideas together will take some work. Fortunately, it’s well under way in cities around Australia and the world.

Read the piece on The Conversation by a Senior Research Fellow from the Institute for Culture and Society at the Western Sydney University, Stephen Healey - “Why the ecocity needs to be a just city.”

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