Andreas Broeckmann on Thu, 30 Mar 2006 09:20:18 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World City

dear rana,

though i am neither well-travelled in the third world and its 
metropolises, nor a student of their socio-economies, i would like to 
raise some questions with regard to your thought-provoking article. 
the hypothesis (the Third-World metropolis is becoming the symbol of 
the "new") is of course rivetting, however:

what if those cities which you, equally polemically, characterise as 
'suffocating piles of slums and desperation (that) are too exhausted, 
too moribund to bring forth futures', are becoming more _visible_, 
yet not more exemplary for anything but the escalating miseries of 
globalisation, with the destruction of agricultural economies and the 
migration of people?

i will happily join all sorts of speculations about what might and 
what might not happen in the future. i also admit that (and this 
seems to be the main point of your article, right) you successfully 
instill a sense of unease about the way west-europeans might live in 
the future.

yet, living in the mellow and fairly well-organised city of berlin, 
and having seen different places and many different ways of living, i 
fail to see why your hypothesis needs to be put forward in such a 
triumphant language. what if the cities and circumstances you 
describe are in fact not the future, but a present condition which 
might be overcome, alleviated, collapse, change?

i guess that what i want to take issue with is the simple teleology 
of your speculation. as though there were not many other models for 
the way in which people live _today_, for the way in which cities are 
changing, and for the way economic and social change is affecting the 
development of urbanisms. and for the way in which we want to imagine 
that change.


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