CCB, Artget Gallery, Republic Square 5 / I
/ Moderator: Ivan Kucina
/ Participants: Park Keepers, Škograd, Novo kulturno naselje – Novi Sad; Svetlana Volic, Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade; Nana Radenković, Nova Iskra; Jovana Timotijević, Institute for Urban Politics and Platform for Theory and Practice of Commons – Zajednicko.org and Tatjana Vukosavljević, BINA
/ SCCM guests: Lucie Schaeren, Switzerland; Zuzana Cermakova, Goethe-Institut Prague, Czech Republic and Roland Krebs, Superwien, Austria
14:00 Ivan Kucina, SCCM BINA Belgrade programme director, Introduction
14:10 Čuvari parka, community initiative, SCCM Urban hub 1
14:20 Škograd, kolektiv, SCCM Urban hub 2
14:30 Novo kulturno naselje, NGO, Novi Sad
15:10 Svetlana Volic, Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade
15:20 Nana Radenković, Nova Iskra
15:30 Jovana Timotijević, Institute for Urban Politics and Platform for Theory and Practice of Commons – Zajednicko.org
15:40 Tatjana Vukosavljević, SCCM BINA Belgrade project coordinator
16:20 Lucie Schaeren, Switzerland
16:30 Zuzana Cermakova, Goethe-Institut Prague, Czech Republic
16:40 Roland Krebs, Superwien, Austria
Urban development that lays claim on Spaces of Productivity advocates that a radical reorganization of society is needed in order to achieve sustainable urbanity. Spaces of Productivity fight against consumerism and commodification, and operate as starting points for envisaging cities that can provide better lives for all citizens with less consumption and more production.
We would like to initiate talks to support this vision. We are asking you to present theoretical and practical proposals that think about Spaces of Productivity as a new form of urban life. We want to share experience and knowledge about ways in which we could reclaim and transform our urban spaces into spaces of productivity.
Studies of Spaces of Productivity involve researches in the fields of urban ecology and environmental justice, sustainable architecture, anthropology, technology, philosophy, democracy, wellbeing, and more. Rather than developing rigid concepts that demand people to conform to them, a flexible and inclusive imaginarium that transcends these fields would be more helpful; an open and inspirational urban narrative.
Against The Imperative of Consumption
In a globalizing world, cities have become the markers of the successes of a country and entered into a competition for human, cultural, tourist, and financial capital; themselves often becoming a commodity to be marketed and sold.
This model of urban development reflects the prominence of a culture of consumption connected to neoliberal ideas and practices. Hence, urban development has been associated with economic growth that is based on the growth of consumption and linked to beliefs such as that more urbanization leads to more prosperity for more people.
Cities have become the terrain where a culture of consumption has been materialized through privatizations, enclosures, and segregations, as well as through real estate speculation and the commodification of land and housing. It has been manifested by fancy office buildings, designer architecture of urban landmarks, and a demand for oversized constructions. The materialization of consumption has led to deregulated urbanization and to the limitless use of resources. In short, the model of economic growth and the culture of consumption that follows it have operated as an amplifier of spatial and social unsustainability.
The questions that then emerge are:
How can we imagine cities and urban life without this imperative of consumption that has dominated the past decades?
How can we create a new inspirational counter-narrative?
How can cities become places of experimentation that challenge and transcend the production instead of consumption?
How can innovative models of urban development contribute to the transformation of the city toward productivity, having social, spatial and environmental justice in mind?
Towards the Spaces of Productivity
There are multiple lines to reclaim the city by developing Spaces of Productivity. As a starting point, we could prevent certain urban resources from being commodified, since there are resources that can be regarded indispensable. In this sense, public spaces would remain shared among citizens, as do a number of other resources (water, energy, etc.). Moreover, housing, as well as other public infrastructure such as education, health, and culture should be constituted as urban resources.
This logic could also be expanded to resources that could be produced by citizens, thus giving impetus to rise of diverse citizens’ associations that could be established in order to reflect the needs of the groups that organize them. Cities are fertile terrains for the development of collaborative practices that prioritize collective production over consumption. Urban commons that emerge and thrive outside the dichotomy of public and private can give new meaning to the reorganization of urban space.
Spaces of Productivity could be envisaged also as a field of experimentation with innovative forms of shared economy, as part of efforts to transform the whole city into a productive ecosystem, local networks that directly connect producers and consumers can have both material and symbolic impact in the ways citizens live, produce, and interact with each other.
In the end, it all comes down to people and trusts. Spaces of Productivity should reflect the emphatic characteristics of human nature—curiosity, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration—they can also shift citizens into a new ethical consciousness based on sharing. Cities that work for all of us are putting people first and empowering them.