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The Myth of Participation, or how participation will deliver the Right to the City

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Despiste the provocative title, this lecture delivers an account of how the idea of Active Citizenship has evolved in history and how this idea is related to the Right to the City. True citizen participation has the potential to deliver the right to the city. In this lecture, I explore a very old line of thought that goes from Aristotle and Plato, to Rousseau, Hannah Arendt, Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey, all of whom affirm the power of active or engaged citizenship in shaping the city while simultaneously shaping us.

Published in: Education

The Myth of Participation, or how participation will deliver the Right to the City

  1. 1. THE MYTH OF PARTICIPATION U URBANISM SPS SpatialPlanning&StrategyTUDelft
  2. 2. THE DOWNSIDE OF PARTICIPATION CRITICS OF PARTICIPATION SAY IT’S… ‣ EXPENSIVE ‣ TIME CONSUMING ‣ INEFFECTIVE ‣ LIP-SERVICE ‣ FOR OLD RETIRED MEN ‣ DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT ‣ “NOBODY CARES ABOUT PARTICIPATION: WHAT EVERYBODY WANTS IS EFFICIENCY” ‣ IT IS A TOOL FOR MANIPULATION: IT IS A PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOL FOR THE POWER HOLDERS (ARNSTEIN, 1969) ‣ IT IS A DEVICE FROM THE RIGHT TO JUSTIFY THE END OF THE WELFARE STATE ‣ IT IS A DEVICE FROM THE LEFT TO JUSTIFY THE PROPAGATION OF ITS IDEOLOGY
  3. 3. THE UPSIDE A-CRITICS OF PARTICIPATION SAY, IT’S ‣ THE SOLUTION FOR ALL OUR PROBLEMS ‣ ANYTHING TOP DOWN IS NECESSARILY BAD, SO EVERYTHING BOTTOM UP IS NECESSARILY GOOD
  4. 4. HTTP://LITHGOW-SCHMIDT.DK/SHERRY-ARNSTEIN/LADDER-OF-CITIZEN-PARTICIPATION.HTML THE LADDER OF PARTICIPATION (SHERRY ARNSTEIN, 1969) CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT CITIZEN PARTICIPATION CITIZEN MANIPULATION
  5. 5. WHO HAS POWER WHEN IMPORTANT DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE? Arnstein, S. (1969). "A Ladder of Citizen Participation." JAIP 35(4): 216-224.
  6. 6. THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL Arnstein, S. (1969). "A Ladder of Citizen Participation." JAIP 35(4): 216-224.
  7. 7. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IS (OR COULD BE) THE REDISTRIBUTION OF POWER THAT ENABLES (DISADVANTAGED) CITIZENS TO BE DELIBERATELY INCLUDED IN DECISION MAKING PROCESSES. Arnstein, S. (1969). "A Ladder of Citizen Participation." JAIP 35(4): 216-224.
  8. 8. PARTICIPATION IS A KEY ELEMENT TO ACHIEVE SPATIAL JUSTICE
  9. 9. SPATIAL JUSTICE TERRITORIAL OR SPATIAL DYNAMICS OF DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH, GOODS AND OPPORTUNITIES EMPHASIS ON SOCIAL ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIPS HAPPENING IN SPACE
  10. 10. TWO MAIN ‘TYPES’ OF JUSTICE
  11. 11. DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE PROCEDURAL JUSTICE
  12. 12. Distributive Justice Fair allocation of resources and services throughout the urban territory. In other words, resources, services and opportunities must be fairly “distributed” by planning urban space.
  13. 13. Justice or injustice can found in the planning processes themselves. Justice is in the “procedures”. Procedural Justice
  14. 14. SPATIAL JUSTICE IS INTIMATELY RELATED TO THE CONCEPT OF THE RIGHT TO THE CITY
  15. 15. RIGHT TO THE CITY
  16. 16. Plato’s The Republic:
 the just man inhabiting the just city Copy of Silanion - Marie-Lan Nguyen (User:Jastrow) 2009, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7831217
  17. 17. By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27948211 Polis is the space of 
 shared decision-making, 
 otherwise known as ‘politics’.
  18. 18. By After Lysippos - Jastrow (2006), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1359807 Aristotle: “man is a political animal”
 
We can only achieve the good life by living as citizens in organised societies. In doing so we become fully human (as opposed to animals in a state of nature).
  19. 19. THE SPATIAL DIMENSION OF POLITICS City: the shared political and physical space, where decisions must be taken by citizens together. http://timelines.latimes.com/occupy-wall-street-movement/
  20. 20. HANNAH ARENDT Active citizenship = Civic engagement and collective deliberation about all matters affecting the political community. Creative commons: Ben Northern Flickr. Some rights reserved.
  21. 21. THE ‘POLITICAL COMMUNITY’ IS THE SPACE OF THE CITY
  22. 22. The political space of the city:
 the ‘social contract’ that establishes rights and duties and where government is legitimised by the consent of the citizens. https://02varvara.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/19-october-2011-occupy-wall-street-becomes-“occupy-the-world”-why-is-the- us-corporate-media-silent/00-01l-occupy-wall-street-19-10-11-vancouver-bc-canada/
  23. 23. THE RIGHT TO THE CITY=
 ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP *right to take part in the affairs of the city *to make decisions about one’s own living environment *realize one’s full potential as a human being
  24. 24. THE RIGHT TO THE CITY IS THE RIGHT TO ACTIVELY SHAPE THE CITY TO ONE’S NEEDS AND DESIRES, THUS EXERCISING ONE’S FULL CITIZENSHIP By Robert Crc - Subversive festival media, FAL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27132002
  25. 25. THE RIGHT TO THE CITY
 
 …is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights (Harvey, 2008)

  26. 26. Participation through electoral systems Author: Staff Sgt. Christopher Allison. Public domain
  27. 27. Disparity of power CIVIL SOCIETY PUBLIC SECTOR PRIVATE SECTOR
  28. 28. 
 
 …designing and planning the built environment are 
 profoundly political activities in which power relationships must be continually exposed and power must be distributed. Active citizenship is not granted, but rather conquered through struggle. 
 
 Photo by Arlette. Arlette Reloaded on Flickr and Instagram. Reproduced here with special permission.
  29. 29. SO, WHAT IS THE CONNECTION?
  30. 30. PARTICIPATION ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP RIGHT TO THE CITY SPATIAL JUSTICE
  31. 31. WAIT! ARE YOU SAYING PARTICIPATION WILL DELIVER THE RIGHT TO THE CITY? IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE! HOWEVER, IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IMPLIES PARTICIPATION AND ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IS A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT TO ACHIEVE THE RIGHT TO THE CITY.
  32. 32. SO, IN DEFENCE OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION…
  33. 33. WILL ALLOW YOU TO GATHER INFORMATION & KNOWLEDGE THAT IS NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE
  34. 34. WILL INCORPORATE COMPLEXITY IN DECISION MAKING
  35. 35. WILL BYPASS THE MANY COGNITIVE BIASES WE SUFFER FROM
  36. 36. IS MORE LIKELY TO DELIVER ‘JUST’ OUTCOMES (BECAUSE OF THE DISTRIBUTION OF POWER)
  37. 37. WILL DELIVER STRONGER COMMUNITIES AND DEMOCRACY-AWARE CITIZENS WILL STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY IN THE LONG RUN
  38. 38. HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DELIVER THE RIGHT TO THE CITY
  39. 39. BUT WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
  40. 40. REDUCTION OF DEMOCRATIC SPACE
  41. 41. THE DISCREDIT OF DEMOCRACY
  42. 42. THE FALL OF PUBLIC SPACEHOMESTEAD, FLORIDA, IS ONE OF A NUMBER OF GATED COMMUNITIES IN THE US. THEY HAVE BECOME MORE POPULAR NOT ONLY FOR CELEBRITIES BUT FOR MIDDLE-CLASS HOMEOWNERS FEARFUL FOR THEIR SAFETY. PHOTOGRAPH: SIPA PRESS/REX
  43. 43. THE PROFOUND CULTURAL ABYSS BETWEEN CITIES, SUBURBS AND RURAL AREAS CLINTON WON ALMOST 90 PERCENT OF URBAN CORES, WHILE TRUMP WON THE VAST MAJORITY – BETWEEN 75 AND 90 PERCENT – OF SUBURBS, SMALL CITIES AND RURAL AREAS. THOUGH THESE LATTER GEOGRAPHIES ARE MORE SPARSELY POPULATED, THEY WERE HOME TO THE MAJORITY OF VOTERS THIS ELECTION.
  44. 44. HTTPS://WWW.WASHINGTONPOST.COM/GRAPHICS/POLITICS/2016-ELECTION/HOW-ELECTION-MAPS-LIE/
  45. 45. THE RURAL X URBAN DIVIDE
  46. 46. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS PRESENTATION. SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE WRITE TO: R.C.ROCCO@TUDELFT.NL
  47. 47. TEXT EXPANDED BIBLIOGRAPHY ARENDT, H. 1998. The human condition. Chicago, Ill., University of Chicago Press. AENDT, H. 2004. The origins of totalitarianism. New York, Schocken Books. ARISTOTLE, et al. 2001. Politics. Blacksburg, VA, Virginia Tech,: 14 p. AVRITZER, L. 2010. Living under democracy: Participation in its impact on the living conditions of the poor. The Journal of the Latin American Studies Association, 45, 166-185. BERG, A. G. & OSTRY, J. D. 2011. Inequality and Unsustainable growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin? IMF Discussion Note. In: IMF (ed.) IMF Discussion Note. Washington: IMF. CRICK, B. 2002. Democracy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press. DAHLGREN, P. 2009. Media and Political Engagement: Citizens, Communication, and Democracy. In: BENNETT, W. L. & ENTMAN, R. M. (eds.) Communication, Society and Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. European Council of Spatial Planners 2015. European Charter on Participatory Democracy in Spatial Planning Processes. Brussels, European Council of Spatial Planners. FOUCAULT, M., et al. 1972. The archaeology of knowledge. World of man. New York, Pantheon Books,: 245 p. FOUCAULT, M. and C. Gordon 1980. Power/knowledge : selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977. New York, Pantheon Books. FOUCAULT, M. 2002. The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. London ; New York, Routledge. HARVEY, D. 2008. The Right to the City. New Left Review, Sept/ Oct, 23-40. HARVEY, D. 2012. Rebel cities : from the right to the city to the urban revolution, New York, Verso. HOLSTON, J. 2009. Insurgent citizenship : disjunctions of democracy and modernity in Brazil, Princeton, N.J. ; Woodstock, Princeton University Press. LARSEN, G. L. 2012. An Inquiry into the Theoretical Basis of Sustainability. In: DILLARD, J., DUJON, V. & KING, M. C. (eds.) Understanding the Social Dimension of Sustainability. London: Routledge. LEFEBVRE, H. 1968. Le Droit à la ville, Paris, Anthropos. LEFEBVRE, H. and K. Goonewardena 2008. Space, difference, everyday life : reading Henri Lefebvre. New York, Routledge. OSTRY, J. D., et al. 2016. "Neoliberalism: Oversold?" Finance & Development 53(2): 38-41. PLATO, et al. 2013. Republic. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. ROCCO, R. 2013. Emerging New Roles for Designers and Planners: Articulating Soft and Hard Infrastructures. Atlantis. Delft: Polis Platform for Urbanism/ TU Delft. ROUSSEAU, J.-J. 1968. The social contract. Harmondsworth, Penguin. SEHESTED, K. 2009. Urban Planners as Network Managers and Metagovernors. Planning Theory and Practice, 10, 245-263. UN-HABITAT 2013. Urban Equity in Development: Cities for Life, Draft Concept paper. In: UN-HABITAT (ed.). Nairobi: UN-Habitat. UN-HUMAN RIGHTS. 2014. Good Governance and Human Rights [Online]. Available: http://www.ohchr.org/en/Issues/Development/GoodGovernance/Pages/ GoodGovernanceIndex.aspx [Accessed 10/04 2014]. WIGMANS, G. 2001. Contingent governance and the enabling city. City, 5, 203-223.

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