Urban Revolution

La Révolution urbaine first appeared in 1970, in the aftermath of the May 1968 uprising in Paris. Cities around the world from Detroit to Tokyo, Prague to Mexico City, were the scene of major revolts … and …culminated in worldwide challenges to capitalism, war, racism, patriarchy, imperialism, and the alienation of modern urban life …” ― Henri Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution

Many people accept the design of their cities as a given. The poster sent out by a local Brisbane councillor this week challenges that. So too does the recent episode of the Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 – Fridays at noon) about Placemaking compered by Andy Payne.

After laying out the theoretical framework with David Enwicht in last weeks episode of Paradigm Shift, this week Andy talks with activists about more practical aspects of ‘placemaking’. This throws up the contest for space in the city. In an interview with community development worker, Eloise Telford, Andy uses the example of West End in Brisbane where there is a battle going on between radicals concept of ‘the village’ and developers plans for ‘high-rise high-density living’.

‘The village’ concept is all about people whereas the ‘developers concept’ is all about money. Eloise Telford stresses the importance of human centred design, and the sense of discovery where you don’t know where a particular element of the environment leads. She argues this is a good thing, it’s about an organic relationship with the world and not just having it ‘look nice’.

Another example is what to do with the land above the Gabba Railway station when the crossriver rail is built.

The Kangaroo Point blockade outside a detention centre on Brisbane’s Southside was begun in response to the daily protests by refugees detained by the Department of home affairs in that suburb. When the government ramped up the issue by attempting to extract a number of refugees imprisoned inside a local group calling itself Refugee Solidarity Meanjin instituted a blockade. This is changed both the space and relationships and connection with the refugees detained inside. Aided by music and poetry a 24-hour vigil, the refugees gained hope.

This in turn gave activists more incentive to sign up and to learn about radical politics. So now discussion centres more around capitalism and its systemic failures than about racism where the discussion was two months ago.

This space has brought on a contest between blockaders, the city council, police, and the Department of Home affairs. Local neighbours and businesses have been forced to take sides. For example the town planners opposite Kangaroo Point Central apartments have chosen 2 complain to police about noise and inconvenience to their business.

On 31 August Paradigm Shift followed up last week’s chat with Part II on “placemaking”. Andy talked to Eloise Telford about the practice and politics of placemaking, and with Sophie Thompson about the way the refugee blockade at Kangaroo Point has used and transformed the space around the refugee detention centre.

So Andy Payne writes on his blog:

“Another momentary crack has appeared in that seemingly impenetrable wall of refugee cruelty. It has allowed for an exchange of human solidarity between isolated refugees and exasperated supporters, inspiring both to keep going. With the blockade demanding an end to forced transfers and release from detention by christmas, and a year that continually seems to produce the unexpected, it just might lead to something more permanent.” (See https://andypaine.wordpress.com/2020/06/18/cracks-in-the-wall-of-refugee-cruelty/ )

Plus more songs about Brisbane places!

Big Iron – Milton
Harley Young and the Haymakers – Margate Girl Friend
Hedley Johnson – Rock on down to Musgrave Park
Ah Fuck That! – Slaughter Myora
Bernard Fanning – Moreton Bay
Lisi – 64 Bars

Listen at http://4zzz.org.au/program/paradigm-shift

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