Toward a sef-organised urbanism

the Pula experience

Red plan is a plan for the city that is in an alarming (red) state. As a first step in the creation of such a plan, we need to locate the red or critical spots. In order to do that, we created a „crisis map“ of Pula: an image of the city in the age of late capitalism.
The citizens of the contemporary city cannot influence the redistribution of the surplus value produced in it. The accumulation of surplus in some parts of the city creates even more poverty in other parts. The neoliberal city destroys communal values and public institutions and directly damages the wider city system that depends on public investments. The neverending transition from socialist to neoliberal economy did not result only in the creation of a free market and private entrepreneurship, it also brought about an escalation of corruption in the public sector. Corruption, an illegal deviation of the public system, takes place when the public interest is marginalized and private profit becomes the system’s primary goal.
Since the beginning of modernity, urban planning has been the task of public institutions. Today, these institutions are going through an uncertain transition in which corruption is ever growing. Because of that, urbanism can no longer count on the support of the official authorities and their government apparatuses. The future urban planning must rely on new forms of transparent organizing that would be able to maintain a more sustained development of the city. Since these are social and political issues, contemporary urbanism can only observe and keep track of the present disturbances and develop a theoretical model for new city planning. This map of Pula is a step in that direction.
Perhaps such plan seems utopian, since it requires either a reform of the neoliberal state or its total avoidance. Nevertheless, this map points out all the injustices that are produced by the existing form of city administration and its inability to implement its own laws. In other words, the city appears to be a concrete jungle, and might makes right. If that is the conclusion – that we live in a system that is unable to protect its own rules of operation while simultaneously creating injustice – then we live in a short-term and unnecessary system. If we persist in supporting it, the conflicts will only multiply: and when they reach a critical point, it is better to have a structured action plan with defined goals that can challenge the existing order.

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