City 2.0: Forging a new urban outlook?

Manchester Salon Discussions

Monday 18 June, 6:45pm start

Alastair Donald, Mindy Gofton, Martin Bryant and Lisa Raynes will introduce a discussion on the lure of the social city and what role it can play in regenerating city space.

‘Open source cities’; ‘smart cities’; ‘intelligent cities’. The choice of prefix may change, but enthusiasts seem increasingly convinced that digital technologies are transforming not only the nature of communication, but also the way we design, build, use, and interact within cities. On awarding the TED 2012 prize to The City 2.0, the organisers disputed the idea that this city of the future was a ‘sterile utopian dream’. Rather, they argued, we are seeing a real-world upgrade, tapping into humanity’s collective wisdom to create places of ‘beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life.’

There are many other claims made for new technologies. Hewlett Packard’s version of City 2.0 asserts that the Information Age is reinventing the city for scalability and sustainability. IBM argue that intelligent technologies are turning neighbourhoods into ‘manageable ecosystems’. According to engineers Arup, new malleable systems increase citizen awareness of the relationships between activities, neighbourhoods, and wider urban systems. Unlike the inflexible, monolithic 20th century city, the Smart City, they say, is a place that citizens collectively modify.

Doctoral Scholarship – Institute for Culture and Society

The University of Western Sydney’s newly-formed Institute for Culture and Society (which incorporates the Centre for Cultural Research) invites applications for PhD scholarships.

The Institute for Culture and Society encourages theoretically-directed empirical research on the transformations in culture and society in the global era. The Institute is home to a number of internationally renowned scholars, contributing to the University of Western Sydney receiving the highest ranking for research quality – well above world standard – in Cultural Studies (as part of the Excellence in Research for Australia 2010).
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Neon: 100 years of the greatest light show on earth

Neon: 100 years of the greatest light show on earth  Peter Conrad celebrates a century of the medium that sells the raffish charms of America and has inspired film-makers and artists, from Hitchcock and Coppola to Bruce Nauman and Tracey Emin.

(as far as I know, there has never been a Polis thesis on ‘Neon’!

Interview with Andreij Holm

Gentrification, die Verdrängung ärmerer Bewohner/innen aus bisher preiswerten Wohnvierteln, hat sich zu einem ständigen Begleiter städtischer Veränderungen entwickelt. Doch nicht nur immobilienwirtschaftliche Interessen, sondern auch symbolische Umwertungen sind für die Veränderungen in den Städten verantwortlich.

Interview mit Andrej Holm, Sozialwissenschaftler und Aktivist aus Berlin.

Berlin’s burning cars a hot topic in forthcoming elections

More than 370 cars set alight so far this year with police saying some crimes are ‘politically motivated’ against gentrification

When the owner of the Mercedes locked their car on Wormser Strasse, Berlin on Thursday night, they probably knew it was risky. More than 370 cars have been set alight in the city this year, with the flashiest models being the chief victims.

Der autoritäre Kapitalismus ist der Gewinner der Krise; Slavoj Žižek

Aber das größte Problem ist Europa selbst. “Was will Europa?”, lautet die Frage – um Freuds “Was will das Weib?” zu paraphrasieren. Die heutige Krise ist eine Krise des technokratischen Brüsseler Modells von Europa. Nur eine erneuerte Linke kann Europa retten.

Exclusion of the Young and Poor in Olympic Host Cities

Security Spectacles, Neoliberal Urbanization, and Homeless Youth in Vancouver 2010 – 12th July

Tuesday 12th July  3.30 – 5.30  Room 151 Birkbeck Main Building
Free and open to all – no registration – just turn up

Jacqueline Kennelly (Carleton University, Ottawa)
This paper examines the experiences of homeless and street-involved young people with policing and surveillance practices instituted within the city of Vancouver in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Games. Tracing intensifed and differentiated encounters with the security apparatus before and during the Games, the paper accounts for the experiences of the youth through a theoretical frame that understands security as a ‘spectacle’ – related to the spectacle of the Olympics themselves – that intersects with practices of city marketing. These two forces in combination constitute the conditions whereby particular forms of symbolic (and material) violence are enhanced within the Olympic city for its most marginalized members.

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Welcome to brand Manchester

Flop off the Pendolino, dodge the weekend hen parties patrolling Piccadilly station – and you emerge into a giant marketing jamboree. That’s not unusual in a city centre, except that what visitors to Manchester are being sold is Manchester itself.

Demolition gown wrong…


Simmel’s brain

The brains of people living in cities operate differently from those in rural areas, according to a brain-scanning study. Scientists found that two regions, involved in the regulation of emotion and anxiety, become overactive in city-dwellers when they are stressed and argue that the differences could account for the increased rates of mental health problems seen in urban areas.