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The Whose City Is It Now: How to Achieve Urban Sustainability, Democracy and Justice


- Why is it important to ask this question?- What are the main themes and arguments of the article? H2: The rise and fall of the creative city - How did the concept of the creative city emerge and spread?- What were the benefits and drawbacks of the creative city approach?- How did the global financial crisis expose the limitations of the creative city? H2: The turn of the smart city - How did the concept of the smart city emerge and spread?- What are the promises and challenges of the smart city approach?- How does the smart city affect urban governance, citizenship and democracy? H2: The return of the right to the city - How did the concept of the right to the city emerge and spread?- What are the principles and practices of the right to the city approach?- How does the right to the city challenge and transform urban power relations? H2: The future of the urban question - How can we compare and contrast the creative city, smart city and right to the city approaches?- What are the common issues and dilemmas facing urban dwellers in different contexts?- What are some possible scenarios and visions for urban futures? H1: Conclusion - Summarize the main points and findings of the article- Highlight the implications and recommendations for urban policy and practice- End with a call to action for urban citizens Table 2: Article with HTML formatting Introduction




Cities are complex and dynamic entities that shape and are shaped by various social, economic, cultural, political and environmental forces. They are also sites of contestation and struggle over resources, identities, meanings and values. In this article, we ask a simple but provocative question: whose city is it now?




The Whose City Is It Now



This question is not new. It has been asked by many scholars, activists, artists and citizens throughout history. It reflects a concern with how urban spaces are produced, governed, experienced and imagined by different actors and groups. It also implies a normative stance on how urban spaces should be produced, governed, experienced and imagined by different actors and groups.


In this article, we explore three different approaches to answering this question: the creative city, the smart city and the right to the city. We trace their origins, evolution, strengths and weaknesses. We also examine their implications for urban governance, citizenship and democracy. We argue that these approaches represent different ways of understanding and intervening in urban problems and possibilities. We also suggest that they raise common issues and dilemmas that require critical reflection and dialogue.


The rise and fall of the creative city




The concept of the creative city emerged in the mid-1990s as an energizing vision of a new role for cultural creativity in urban development. It was associated with thinkers such as Charles Landry, who argued that culture could be a key resource for revitalizing decayed industrial zones, renewing stale urban identities, attracting talented workers and tourists, enhancing social cohesion and fostering innovation.


The concept of the creative city spread rapidly across the globe, as many cities adopted policies and strategies to promote their cultural assets, industries and scenes. Examples include Barcelona's cultural regeneration projects, Berlin's creative clusters, London's creative quarters, Melbourne's laneway culture, Montreal's cultural metropolis plan, New York's creative economy initiative and Singapore's renaissance city vision.


However, by the late 2000s, the concept of the creative city faced growing criticism from various quarters. Some critics argued that it was based on a narrow definition of creativity that privileged certain sectors, activities and groups over others. Others pointed out that it was driven by market logic that commodified culture and gentrified urban spaces. Still others claimed that it was detached from social reality and ignored issues such as inequality, exclusion, diversity and participation.


The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 further exposed the limitations of the creative city approach. It revealed the vulnerability and volatility of the creative economy, the fragility and inequality of the creative class, and the unsustainability and unaccountability of the creative city governance. It also sparked a wave of social movements and protests that challenged the dominant urban order and demanded alternative visions and practices.


The turn of the smart city




The concept of the smart city emerged in the early 2010s as an enticing vision of a new role for digital technology in urban development. It was associated with thinkers such as Anthony Townsend, who argued that technology could be a key tool for enhancing urban efficiency, sustainability, resilience, livability and competitiveness.


The concept of the smart city spread rapidly across the globe, as many cities adopted policies and strategies to deploy various technologies such as sensors, networks, platforms, applications and devices. Examples include Amsterdam's smart city program, Barcelona's smart city strategy, Dubai's smart city initiative, London's smart city roadmap, New York's smart city plan, Singapore's smart nation vision and Tokyo's smart city project.


However, by the late 2010s, the concept of the smart city faced growing criticism from various quarters. Some critics argued that it was based on a technocratic vision that reduced urban complexity to data and algorithms. Others pointed out that it was driven by corporate interests that captured urban data and markets. Still others claimed that it was detached from political reality and ignored issues such as democracy, privacy, security and justice.


The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021 further exposed the limitations of the smart city approach. It revealed the vulnerability and fragility of the digital infrastructure, the risks and uncertainties of the digital innovation, and the trade-offs and conflicts of the digital governance. It also sparked a wave of debates and experiments that questioned the dominant urban paradigm and explored alternative possibilities.


The return of the right to the city




The concept of the right to the city emerged in the late 1960s as an emancipatory vision of a new role for urban citizenship in urban development. It was associated with thinkers such as Henri Lefebvre, who argued that urban dwellers had a right to participate in the production and appropriation of urban spaces according to their needs and desires.


The concept of the right to the city re-emerged in the early 2000s as a rallying cry for various social movements and organizations that resisted and challenged neoliberal urbanization processes. Examples include Brazil's urban reform movement, India's slum dwellers federation, Mexico's popular urban movement, South Africa's shack dwellers movement, Spain's indignados movement, Turkey's Gezi Park protests and US's occupy movement.


However, by the early 2020s, the concept of the right to the city faced growing co-optation and dilution from various quarters. Some actors appropriated it to advance their own agendas and interests. Others depoliticized it to fit their own frameworks and discourses. Still others instrumentalized it to legitimize their own actions and interventions.


The climate crisis of 2020-2030 further challenged the right to the city approach. It revealed the urgency and complexity of addressing environmental issues in urban contexts. It also demanded a radical transformation of urban systems and structures that went beyond individual rights and claims.


The future of the urban question




The creative city, smart city and right to the city approaches represent different ways of answering the question of whose city is it now. They reflect different perspectives, values, interests and aspirations. They also entail different implications, consequences, benefits and costs.


However, they are not mutually exclusive or incompatible. They can be seen as complementary or contradictory depending on how they are interpreted, implemented and evaluated. They can also be seen as evolving or transforming depending on how they respond to changing contexts, challenges and opportunities.


Moreover, they raise common issues and dilemmas that require critical reflection and dialogue. These include:


  • How to balance economic development with social justice?



  • How to foster innovation without sacrificing inclusion?



  • How to leverage technology without undermining democracy?



  • How to promote participation without neglecting representation?



  • How to achieve sustainability without compromising diversity?



These are not easy questions to answer. They demand collective deliberation and action from various urban actors and stakeholders. They also require a holistic and systemic understanding of urban dynamics and processes.


Conclusion




In this article, we have explored three different approaches to answering the question of whose city is it now: the creative city, smart city and right to the city. We have traced their origins, evolution, strengths and weaknesses. We have also examined their implications for urban governance, citizenship and democracy.


We have argued that these approaches represent different ways of understanding and intervening in 71b2f0854b


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