The right to the city
The right to the city is emerging as an important political concept, gaining traction in policy circles internationally (see the attached document produced by UNESCO and HIC on the right to the city and urban policy in India). It states that all people who inhabit cities should have the right to share equally in the resources and opportunities that these places have to offer. The right to the city demands that we have the right to change the way that cities are produced, to shape the city ‘after our heart’s desire’. According to this idea, the social ‘use value’ of urban land should be prioritized above its ‘exchange value’.
Below is a video, produced by the NGO Isandla Institute, discussing the concept of the right to the city in the context of the highly inequitable South African city of Cape Town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_oXVgiwm28
The right to the city has also become an important rallying cry for citizens and social movements internationally. It focuses the many demands made by different movements with an urban agenda. But this also means that it means many different things to different people.
Do you think that the right to the city is an important concept to think about urban policy and citizenship? Why?