Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS18_02: Urban Futures: Visions, imaginaries and narratives (2)
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Catherine Louise Walker, University of Manchester
Location: BS.3.17
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road


DECIDING TOGETHER: Forms of Participatory Budgeting in Finnish Cities

Titiana Ertiö, Mikko Rask

University of Helsinki, Finland

Participatory Budgeting (PB) practices have been adopted in Finnish cities as responses to reforms that create opportunities to include citizens in managing their municipality’s finances. In this paper, we explore how different types of PB create opportunities for citizens and public managers to develop both project ideas as well as their capabilities. The main argument of the paper elaborates on the co-creation concept and posits that the more and manifold opportunities to engage with the public, the more diversified capacities are built. Moreover, these capabilities are likely to outlive the PB practices and continuously create new opportunities for engagement. PB cases in Helsinki and Vantaa as well as the crowdfunding campaign in Tampere will serve as empirical examples to the backdrop presented. The types of co-creation activities observed in PB and participatory processes by large re-shape visions of municipality renewal and social inclusion.

Imagining a Good Life in Stoke-on-Trent: The Role of ‘Absence’ and Memories of the Past in Shaping Everyday Utopian Futures in an Urban Post-Industrial Landscape

Susan Helen Venn, Kate Burningham

University of Surrey, United Kingdom

At the heart of any form of prosperity lie the desires, aspirations, needs and capabilities of ordinary people, which help to inform ideas of what constitutes a good life. Yet it is clear that visions of a good life, and good work are also shaped by aspects of environmental and social landscapes.

In this paper we will present findings from a case study exploring what a good life means to ordinary people living in the post-industrial city of Stoke-on-Trent. In our selection of Stoke-on-Trent our goal was to understand the motivations and expectations of ordinary citizens for a good life living within a culturally diverse and socio-economically disadvantaged area where its strong sense of identity is closely linked to its past, and is both a help and a hindrance to living well.

Drawing on focus groups with a diverse range of residents we will suggest that social, material and cultural traces of an industrial past are implicit in shaping imagined future post-industrial landscapes in three different ways. Firstly by invoking a nostalgic longing for a recreation of an absent industrial past, secondly by a rejection of and breaking from the past to create an entirely different future, and finally through acknowledgement of a lost past, but with a desire to utilise and reshape it into a new future.

Understanding how different future narratives emerge within post-industrial urban landscapes such as Stoke-on-Trent is key in identifying those aspects of the city that its residents value, and also in terms of facilitating future discussions around what is needed to achieve a good life in the city.

Developing Common Visions? Elaborating Conception of Cohesion with Help of Deliberative Procedures in Disintegrated Urban Spaces – ZuNaMi Approach

Kevin Brandt1, Tatiana Zimenkova2

1Hochschule Rhein-Waal, Germany; 2Rhine-Waal-University of Applied Sciences

Heterogeneous urban spaces, facing phenomena of global migration, disintegration and exclusions might as well bear specific potential for social inclusion and cohesion. The area of the old industrial town of Dortmund is a well-known locus of social disintegration and socio-spatial segregation in Germany. The presented paper reports on the conceptions of cohesion and solidarity and ideas of inclusion, developed by the citizens of Dortmund within the research project “ZuNaMi” (“Developing cohesions narratives together”), which creates, tests and applies instruments for developing shared narratives of societal cohesion in a heterogeneous multicultural urban setting. The design-based research project ZuNaMi invites citizens of Dortmund to participate in – and co-create the – deliberative process, in which they are brought together in artificially heterogeneous workshops, facing the “others” they would due to spatial and social disintegration unlikely meet in regular everyday situations. In workshops with limited regulation, participants are called to discuss cohesion narratives, given that the framing and normativity of “cohesion” conception is left to their own consideration. The deliberative practice itself is being observed and analyzed. The paper concentrates on the question how is the conception of cohesion articulated in the workshops and mind maps, produced by the participants as well as on the mechanisms of production, articulation and development of the visions of urban solidarity and social inclusion. Using extensive sequential analysis of the workshops we detect, how the conception of social inclusion, cohesion and solidarity emerges in interactions of city citizens, united by the common living space and disintegrated by socio-economic segregation.

A Review Paper On Social Sustainability In Urban Road Transportation In Abuja, Nigeria

Tukur Mohammed Ahijo, John Whitton, Ioan Charnley-Parry

University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom

In this paper, we discuss the concept of social sustainability in urban road transportation planning in the city of Abuja, Nigeria. Our paper reports the early findings from a survey of road users at public transport hubs in the city. Social Sustainability is the least studied of the three sustainability ‘pillars’ because of its diversity, complexity and ambiguities. In addition, much of the work on Social sustainability has been carried out in more developed nations, so reconceptualising the term for West Africa is not without challenges.

The city of Abuja planned to have a population of over 1.6 million people, expanding through a series of satellite towns to 3.2 million. The 2006 census estimated the population at 1.4m with a growth rate of 9%. In 2014, the Global Cities Institute projected that Abuja will have a population of almost 7m. A survey in 2008 recorded an average daily passenger traffic of 1.4m, the average daily passenger numbers for bus travel was just under 8 hundred thousand. With increase in population in the city, and the opening of more districts, there will be an increase in demand of public transport and a significant social impact to those communities currently on the proposed routes of new roads.

We discuss social sustainability as comprising the themes of – equity, social inclusion, human rights, gender equality, community and public participation in decision-making, and stakeholder engagement. We discuss the difficulties faced by commuters in accessing urban road transport, the quality of service, public engagement, and the decision-making process of the transport sector.