Wednesday, September 29, 2010

cities as contested spaces and some church possibilities

Outstanding presentation by Jason Ting, from Planning SA, this morning at the Church in the City 2010 conference. Under the theme “Cities as contested spaces” he made the following points.

1 – Our cities are growing – A world milestone a few years ago, with more than 50% of world’s population in urban settlement

2 – Our cities are aging – 75% of elderly live in cities and this needs to be placed alongside a rising age dependency ratio (the number of people retired compared to the number of people working)

3 – Our cities are diversifying – (even) Adelaide is diversifying. In Australia, 85% of immigrants choose to live in cities.

4 – Our cities are becoming more expensive

5 – Our cities are sprawling – Australian cities are 3 to 4 times the size of comparable population sized cities in Holland

6- We fragment our space – He apologised for 20th century urban planning frameworks, which had separated residential from industrial from economic. This was driven by the human love affair with the car.

7 – We sanitize our space – The irony that especially the middle-class like to keep spaces clean. However graffiti and grunge for some, including youth, means edgy and exciting

8 – We commodify our space – Public spaces are often paid spaces. For example shopping centres which do not encourage seating in order to move on “non-paying” customers.

He then argued for three innovations:

  • Spatial innovation – What spatial entrepreneurship could church contribute to? Possibilities include places to sit, to cycle, to walk, spaces that are not commodified.
  • Social innovation – Possibilites mentioned included urban community farm, deck chairs in parks, pedestrian friendly footpaths (outdoor table tennis tables that I saw near Liverpool Station, London)
  • Spiritual innovation – how can churches encourage diversity in this area?
Posted by steve at 12:40 PM

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