(2010) Social conflicts in the re-structuration of the fragmented city [ENG]

Wednesday 6 October 2010, by Miguel Angel Martinez

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Slides and text of the conference given in Valencia in June, 2010.

Polytechnic University of Valencia and the civic group Salvem El Cabanyal, organised an international meeting where the problems of urban rehabilitation in Valencia, Germany and Japan were discussed. My conference deals with the sociological dimensions of such processes.

I will use the term restructuration sometimes similar to renovation, urban renewal, rehabilitation and so on. I’m aware that there are important differences, sometimes slight differences between this terms but in essence they refer to similar processes. So I will divide my presentation into two parts. The first one is about the understanding from a sociological point of view about all the things involved in the process of urban restructuration. Secondly I will deal with the problem of social con- flicts, citizenship resistance, self-organization of neighborhoods and so on.

After several years of analyzing these processes and being involved in some of them, finally I concluded that we need to recall at these three essential dimensions, at least in my opinion. The first one is integrality and interdisciplinarity: that means working together, urban planners, architectonic projects, legal experts, economic advisers , social workers, social analyst and so on. And all of them should be, in my opinion, aimed to get an internal development of the area and specially if this area is a marginalized one, to get a positive action in order to solve all the social problems involved in these areas.

The second main dimension for me is what I call “habitability” or the capability to live in these places because as you know some of this processes end in such a museistic area or just a service exclusive area, so for me I think this is a very important point, to keep the people to live there, specially the people who lived there before and to open opportunities for some other people also to live there, but they should be got in a good conscientious and it must be negotiated and so on.

And the third dimension is plurality and diversity, I mean: if we want to live in good cities in livable cities we need to combine functions, social groups, typologies of the buildings, different spaces, I mean variety finally, the essence of Jacobs’’ proposals. But all of this is crossed by the uncertainty of the future and the capabilities of the people to improve and to propose new things in order to combine all of these actors.