Urban social movements: making and resisting change

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  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 15-01-13 13:39

Headline challenges identified in last 3 lectures

  • uneven development patterns
  • persistent inequailty (processess)
  • housing and welfare crisis
  • social isolation/hyper-privatisation

Expressing opposition:

- demonstation (protest, showign how things might be different)
- direct action (e.g occupation)
- participatory planning
- community-led alternatives 

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  • Who is explressing opposition and how?
  • top-down versus bottom up
  • consumers (boycott's, petitions, ethical trade)
  • Interest groups, campaigns (local traders, e.g. opposing Costa Coffee opening stroes in Totnes TT)
  • New social movements - variety of large and small transnational and nation, including Occupy.
  • Different site and scales of action: voice, march, media-led, legal, illegal, peaceful, direct action, disobedience
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Ways of 'reclaiming' the streets: peace and play

  • Play streets/liveable strees; Appleyard 1981, Woolley 2008
  • Dutch Woonerf concept
  • UK Home Zones (e.g Staiths South Bank, Gateshead
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Reclaim the streets: Disruption and disobedience

  • The street is an extremely important symbol (of freedom) because you are conditioned by parental rules and state regulations to keep out of the streets...the idea is to keep everyone indoors

Yearning for the 'ideal' community

  • Badcock 2002 suggests the hallmarks of the 'ideal' community are:
  • the sociability and 'face-to-face' interaction that charecterises neighbouring
  • a sense of solidarity and a sense of belonging
  • an attachment to place that comes from a shared sense of local identity
  • the presence of groups with a strong civic or community service focus

This builds on the seminal writing of Jane Jacobs 1961 The Life and Death of Great American Cities.

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'Top Down' response: Urban Task Force

  • Initiations such as the Social Exclusion Unit and Urban Task Force (UTF)
  • UTF chaired by architect Richard Rogers, produced a report in 1999 Towards an Urban Renaissance - concept of 'urban village'
  • Critics point out that the UTF is concerned with new home building in orthodox model - does not address hyper - privatisation or hyper-mobility; does not tackle inequality or uneven development
  • In 2005, Richard Rogers himself admits 'too many housing projects are just that..' the volume house builders failt to understand either the complexities of daily life or the 'ingredients' of community
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Lammas Wales (1990s) Eco-village Pioneers

  • 1995: people were forced off their land, and land has been threatened by development for years. 
  • Baillifs came smashing through door
  • Low impact settlement, planned eco village Lammas. Living truly sustainably enabling a maintained lifestyle over years. 
  • Infrastructure and homes that are built on the natural land, built out of natural materials
  • Pembrokeshire has strong grass roots that supports low impact development
  • Possible to build somethign all naturally for less than 3000 pounds. 
  • New policy has been made for the permission of the houses
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Other examples

Mini earthship 2001

  • homes made out of recycled materials, scrap tyres and sycamore trees
  • loosely based upon earthsip concept of Mike Reynolds the garbage warrior.

Hockerton Housing Project

sustainable, low impact living, unusual

  • sustainable, low impact living, unusual.
  • 5 family build homes to reduce dependance upon oil
  • 1997 homes use 25% of the energy usedby homes built today
  • insulation is crucial - more you have less heating. 
  • remainging energy needs met by on site renewable technology methods
  • HHP has project managed a comunity owned wind turbine that offsets village electricity usage
  • HHP assist others with sustainable living 
  • A pair of semi detached homes in Newark - government funded competition for new solutions to energy efficient housing
  • living as part of a community.
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Other forms of local action and Summary

  • People generating art or displays to evoke thought 
  • transgression/subversion: subtly changing signs etc eg. on the tube "dont acknowledge fellow passenger or sustain eye contact beyond 2 seconds. Please respect urban solitude" "No eye contact penatly £200" 


  • callenging inequality and exlusion
  • 'public space' that is not really publie e.g access restricted to a priveliged group/motorists etc
  • local campaings for/against/resisting change (regeneration/conservation)
  • different ways of demonstratin 'alterity' and epressing opposition by individuals, collective groups and social movements
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