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Session Overview
RN37_10a_P: Urban Design and Space Planning
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Ioana Florea, University of Gothenburg
Location: PC.4.23
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Urban Governance in Serbia – the Case of the Megaproject “Belgrade Waterfront”

Jelisaveta Petrovic, Mina Petrovic

Faculty of Philosophy, Belgrade University, Serbia

“Belgrade Waterfront” is the largest urban revitalization project initiated in the post-socialist Serbia. Funded through the public-private partnership arranged between the Serbian government and the investors from the United Arab Emirates (Eagle Hills, Abu Dhabi), this kind of project typically challenges democratic procedures and demands for a high level of public expenditure. The aim of this paper is to explore the process of decision making from the perspective of the urban regime theory (Stone, Stoker). Special attention is given to the interplay between the government and the civil sector, whose resistance is articulated through the “We won’t let Belgrade d(r)own” initiative.

Our analysis is informed by the semi-structured interviews (N=20) conducted with the relevant stakeholders: representatives of the civil sector, local and national government, and the experts in the field. The research findings show that the project develops as a typical neoliberal gentrification, lacking a clear policy agenda to decipher the urban regime type. The civil sector is generally against the project due to the prevailing command power in decision making (and not against the project per se). The expert community (e.g. urban planners, architects, environmentalists etc.) argues against the project as being unsuitable for the local context. However, these arguments are, in great part, disregarded by the local and national authorities, who assume the “priority lane” approach to the investors. While the government representatives perceive their mode of governance as an expanding urban regime, the civic actors consider it as a threat to the national and local interests.

Peculiarities of the Turkish Construction Drive

Melih Yeşilbağ

Ankara University, Turkey

This paper analyses the political economy of built environment production in Turkey under the rule of Justice and Development Party (2002-2017). It offers an analytical framework that addresses the extent, causes and consequences of the construction drive by situating the Turkish case into a comparative setting. To begin with, the vital signs of the construction sector demonstrate an aggressive growth performance similar to recent cases of construction booms such as Spain and Ireland. The underlying factors making the boom, however, reveal the impact of certain dynamics peculiar to Turkey. In this respect, the Turkish construction boom bears the distinct stamp of the strategic interventions of successive JDP governments into built environment, most notably through a persistent stream of mega projects. The investigation of the leading motivations behind this strategy highlights the political requirements of JDP’s efforts to implement a novel hegemonic project that combine neoliberalism and Islamism. On that score, accumulation patterns in construction, which are marked by the disappearance of well-established firms from the domestic market and the rapid rise of a new generation of firms with organic links to the party, demonstrate that the sector has been functional in consolidating the power of the Islamic capital fraction within the dominant class. These findings suggest that the JDP’s construction strategy is not merely a reflection of the rising importance of built environment production in contemporary capitalism, but has also been shaped by the political-ideological requirements of the struggles within the power bloc.

From the City to the Sahara – Shantytown Resettlement and the Right to the City in Casablanca

Raffael Beier1,2

1Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany; 2Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

In the wake of the 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca city centre, the Moroccan state decided to eradicate all shantytowns within the country. Shantytowns were stigmatised as densely populated breeding grounds of crime and extremism. Within the national urban ‘worlding’ visions, shantytowns were framed as a housing form of the past that would threaten Morocco’s development achievements and endanger future (urban) prosperity. As a policy solution, the government designed a countrywide resettlement project, called Villes sans Bidonvilles (VSB, Cities without Shantytowns). In Casablanca, Morocco’s largest metropolis, the VSB programme transferred approximately 6.000 household from Morocco’s 90-years-old and historically most significant shantytown, Carrières Centrales, to the new satellite neighbourhood Lahraouiyine – more than ten kilometres away. On the one hand, households wishing to remain were forcedly evicted – without existing alternative housing options. On the other hand, the innovative resettlement scheme also enabled vulnerable households to become owners of a new apartment in a proper house. Indeed, many households appreciate the new housing comfort, however, a large majority also reports strong feelings of isolation and deracination. Especially women and young men suffer from a lack of jobs and activities, as well as from the loss of their previous social networks. Deprived from their individual ‘right to the city’, many feel exiled to a place they – symbolically – call the beginning of the ‘Sahara’. Thus, the paper aims at critically analysing the social aspects of this internationally honoured resettlement programme and builds on four months of empirical field research in Casablanca.

The NŁC or why culture led development haven't worked even if Frank Ghery was there...

Jacek Gądecki1, Łukasz Afeltowicz2

1University of Science and Technology AGH, Poland; 2Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland

We present the results of a half year long ethnography of newly built cultural institution EC1 - located in the former power plant. The ethnography of that particular institution and area, so called New Lódź Centre, allow us to demonstrate how: 1) the Bilbao effect was used to mobilize the mega-project and public subsidies 2) how the starchitects (Ghery and Krier) help to create the vision of the city' future, and - finally - 3) how the idea failed and was taken over by the managerial staff...

The analyzed case bring us to the Melanesian “Cargo Cult” model - where the material and spatial factors were recognized but the local infrastructure is unable to fulfill assumed functions and local hopes. In the best case the NLC can repeat the Bilbao effect with all the consequences, i.e. the gentrification and commercialization of the area...

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