Glocal Vienna | Urban Mastication
A new series of articles from Die Zeit gives a revealing insight into current mainstream ‘liberal’ thinking on (and the production/reproduction of) urban space. As the papers’ ‘flavour of the week’, the topics covered in the Themenwoche report with largely resounding optimism that technological advancements and the creative free-will of the savvy, resourceful urban elite will and are providing the visions of future cities that are required.
The odd allusion to standard gentrification characteristics aside, such as the concentration of high-income earners of residents in so-called model ‘quarters’ as present in Vauban, Freiburg, and the inclusion of allegories from urbanised readers for whom, this vision of urban utopia is just out of reach; the rents and housing prices increasingly unaffordable,
Hamburg, du wirst mir fehlen…Doch Hamburg ist mir einfach zu teuer geworden. Allein ein Blick in die Immobilienanzeigen zeigt: Hier gehörst du einfach nicht zu.
[Hamburg, you shall be missed…yet Hamburg has simply become too expensive for me. Even just a glance at the property ads say: you simply don’t belong here.]
the fundamental and idiosyncratic [capitalist] processes and incentives making possible and driving these transformations are virtually absent and not explored within the context of the urban problematic. Indeed the frequent front covers of the weekly print edition show a self-confident alternative seeking, a world beyond growth position, towards the problems of Europe’s socio-economies and global capitalism, which seems to fade with the turn of the page. Here, ‘modern life’, the real utopia, continues unperturbed. There are the inevitable losers, of course; the families that have to move into large houses in the now uncool suburbia and, sure, they can tell their sorry tale for themselves, but urban gardening and smartphones, we are told, and smartphone managed urban gardens are the future for environmentally friendly, attractive cities. They are positive and positivist trends, free of agency, for the utilitarian, collective and common good.
We are to be typologised. A neighbourhood, a lifestyle, custom designed for everyone. From the retired to the children, for art-types and the entertained. For those who can afford it, of course. The rest of us will live in the suburban periphery, the benachteiligte quartiere / problem neighbourhoods of the future?
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