14 February 2019

The fight for the city

Opening up urban spaces can result in ugly and difficult sites, but inclusion is more important than beauty. A city should not be user-friendly. It should be a place where you learn how to deal with a difficult situation and with other people – that is what makes a city really open.

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Donald Trump’s achievements thus far have been rhetorical. But whether Democrats can take advantage of his weakness remains doubtful. Following the longest government shutdown in US history, Trump is now threatening to declare a national emergency – a move dreaded by even his supporters.

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Review

Democratic disquiet

‘Esprit’ re-reads Claude Lefort on disquieted democracy; ‘Mittelweg 36’ analyses authority and its opponents; ‘Merkur’ fears for German parliamentarism; ‘dérive’ surveys the urbanist precursors of 1968; and ‘Vagant’ considers nostalgic Russians and melancholy Norwegians.

In defence of public tedium

‘L’Espill’ asks whether democracy would be better off without the EU; ‘Ord&Bild’ re-reads China’s Cultural Revolution; ‘Syn og Segn’ seeks sustainable solutions for Norwegian architecture; ‘Vikerkaar’ explores credit and debt beyond economics; ‘Res Publica Nowa’ discusses the parlous state of Polish NGOs; and ‘Symbol’ talks to Javier Cercas about the novel.

The maelstrom of events

‘New Eastern Europe’ reflects on public intellectuals; ‘Letras Libres’ portrays Mexico’s new historian-president; ‘Osteuropa’ warns of confessional polarization in Ukraine; ‘Index on Censorship’ reports on birthing regimes and reproductive rights; ‘Esprit’ is cautious of the campaign against post-truth; and ‘Revue Projet’ forms new critiques of consumerism.

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