Almantas Samalavicius

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15 October 2014

Winds of urban change

From the planned rewilding of London’s Upper Lea Valley to performance indicator software designed to manage 663 of China’s largest cities, Warren Karlenzig knows what he’s talking about when it comes to urban sustainability projects. And yet he’s never been more daunted by the dizzying speed of growth and unfathomable scale of today’s cities.

Today’s media, combined with the latest portable devices, have pushed serious public discourse into the background and hauled triviality to the fore, according to media theorist Arthur W Hunt. And the Jeffersonian notion of citizenship has given way to modern consumership.

At some point, there is a tilt; there always is. Then we shall settle down into our new historical system. Wallerstein foresees one of two possibilities: more hierarchy, exploitation and polarization; or a system that has never yet existed, based on relative democracy and relative equality.

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Nicholas Bradbury made his literary debut this year with the novel “Market Farm”, a reworking of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” for the free market era. He talks here about influences for his satirical take on the current financial crisis and potential grounds for hope for the future.