Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Regrowing the city

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Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

When I commissioned this article on the group of radical dreamers known as the Situationists, I got the impression that some of my colleagues thought it was a bit arcane and irrelevant. Didn't they just spend a lot of time drifting around Paris thinking pie-in-the-sky thoughts about impossible cities of the future where people could be really free? ButI went ahead anyway. And I was glad I had watching Julian Temple's brilliant documentary on the catastrophic demise of Motor City, Requiem for Detroit, shown on BBC2 this Saturday. In his powerful treatment of the story of how a major city was destroyed by the self-satisfied myopia of the American auto industry who thought the good times would never end, Temple provides a fascinating coda which details how the post-industrial landscape is being taken back - both by nature (plants sprouting in the empty houses and factories) and through the ingenuity and creativity of city gardeners and artists. Nothing would have made Guy Debord and the other Situationist dreamers happier, or better proved that their poetic radicalism can serve as a pragmatic model for building better worlds. [The image here is Contant's "symbolic representation of New Babylon" his never created ideal city] If you are in the UK you can see Requiem for Detroit here

3 comments:

King Mob said...

"Before overseas competition, oil price shocks and credit crunches punched gaping holes in Detroit's chrome dreams..."

Zero mention of the labor unions in the entire article. Wow.

Detroit is a demonstration of the failure of crony capitalism and "great society" type policies. Everyone in the US knows this...

King Mob said...

Also:

All Hail His Majesty King Mob.

Eiskrystal said...

Hail thee well Mob,

Detroit was a mine-canary in my opinion, but America keeps on digging. I doubt the unions would have changed much in the end.