In search of a new urbanity
Talk Forward / elculture at the OCC
24 April 2012
Cities have always been the ground of social, economic, cultural and political development. In the 20th century these dynamics were reflected in the urban canvas more strongly than in any other period. Urban sprawl, environmental degradation, energy consumption, car-oriented development, denial of public space, disruption of social cohesion are some of the keywords that describe the contemporary urban environments. For Athens, we should add the absence or palinodes of urban/strategic planning, the waves of refugees and the internal migration, the problematic political context, the degradation of the city center etc. This period is now ending, sometimes smoothly, sometimes abruptly and "noisy".
New ideas and perceptions about the quality of life are expressed in different ways and from various social groups, urging the city to serve, strengthen and embrace them. Creativity, innovation, joy, closeness, gentleness, self-sufficiency, technology, new social networks, economy, imagination, cooperation, environmental responsibility, pedestrian and cycle friendly public places are some of the words outlining the content of a new urbanity, which comes to redefine the relationship between the city and its residents.
However, the urban inertia is strong making change difficult. If we do not expect this transformation to appear in Darwinian terms, we should immediately begin the discussion and perhaps action. Which will be the content of this new urban culture? How is it manifested in individual and collective level? Are the citizens’ initiatives, the social groups interventions or individual actions enough or should they be accompanied by radical transformations of the urban environment? What should we keep and what to reject from the 20th century cities? Which will be the economic and social terms of this transition?
Dr. Dimitris Milakis, Transport/Urban Planner
Dr. Dimitrios Lallas, Sociologist
Dr. Nikos Babrbopoulos Vlandis
, Writer, Urban Planner
Stylianos Giamarelos, Architect (Re-think-Athens)
Konstantinos Pantazis & Marianna Rentzou, Point Supreme
Alkistis Rodi, Architect, Assistant Professor at the University of Patras
Zacharias Mavroeidis, Film Director
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The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before the event.