Miloon Kothari discusses his work as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and how this right can be realized in practice
Miloon Kothari is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, and he spoke at Simon Fraser University–Woodward’s on July 9, 2012.
Mr. Kothari’s talk is titled The Right to Adequate Housing: From Practice to Policy to Practice. He discusses his work as Special Rapporteur, the similar and distinct challenges facing a variety of countries and cities, specifically Vancouver, and how the right to adequate housing can be realized.
Thank you to SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement for permission to broadcast this talk.
On the podcast, John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York, reflects on Michael Bloomberg’s three terms as mayor of New York City and what the election of Bill de Blasio means for the city. Bill de Blasio is the first Democratic mayor elected since 1993 and won the mayoral election by a landslide, receiving over 73% of the vote. We discuss issues of inequality, affordable housing, immigration, and urban development – as well as the shifting landscape of electoral politics in America’s largest city.
Dr. Mollenkopf is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is director of the Center for Urban Research. He is a renowned urban scholar on New York City’s politics and has authored or edited fifteen books on urban politics, urban policy, immigration, and New York City. Prior to joining the Graduate Center in 1981, he directed the Economic Development Division of the New York City Department of City Planning.
Over three podcasts, we revisit the year’s critical urban discussions on topics and ideas ranging from transportation along Vancouver’s Broadway corridor, the degradation of work in postindustrial urban economies, gentrification in Vancouver’s Chinatown, feminist urban futures and social movements, the making of Stanley Park, arts and cultural spaces, and much more.
Part III (featuring Ellen Woodsworth)
The first half of the 21st century is anticipated to be a period of continuing large-scale urbanization in the developing world, with much of this occurring in Asian countries, especially China and India. This fundamental, on-going change in Asia presents, on the one hand, prospects for economic prosperity, new visions of an urban future and the potential for local democratization, and on the other, challenges of increasing economic and social inequities, increased resource consumption and environmental degradation. Underlying all these problems and possibilities are fundamental research challenges for scholars to consider.
On February 27, 2013, urban scholar John Friedmann (UBC School of Community and Regional Planning) reflected on the broad topic of urbanization in Asia, highlighting issues of environmental degradation, socioeconomic inequality, and local democracy.
The talk was hosted by the Liu Institute’s Comparative Urban Studies Network, in partnership with the Institute of Asian Research Asian Urbanisms Cluster.
On November 1st, 2012, Loic Wacquant gave a public lecture organized by the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Studies and the Department of Geography. His talk is entitled, “The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age.”
Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the European Centre of Sociology and Political Science in Paris. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Prisons of Poverty, and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.
On the podcast, urban sociologist Daniyal Zuberi discusses the importance of social policy for quality of life for the working class and working poor in Canadian and US cities. The conversation centres around the socio-economic conditions of hotel workers in both Vancouver and Seattle and healthcare workers in Vancouver.
Professor Zuberi’s research is critically important because it evaluates how social and economic policies enacted at all levels of government – national, subnational, and local – ‘touch down’ at the urban scale and how policymaking at all levels can be implicated in shaping city life. Professor Zuberi joined me in the CiTR studio for a recorded interview in July 2012.
Dr. Zuberi is Associate Professor of Social Policy at the University of Toronto, and he is a research fellow at Harvard University. His focus has been on Canada and US comparative research around labour, education, health, immigration, poverty, and social welfare.
He is published widely on these topics and is author of Differences That Matter: Social Policy and the Working Poor in the United States and Canada. He has two forthcoming books, Outsourced: How Modern Hospitals are Hurting Workers and Endangering Patients and Schooling the Next Generation: How Urban Elementary Schools Build the Resiliency of Immigrant Children.
For half a century now, the top one percent of the top one percent have denied the right to the city, by confusing people that individual rights were all that mattered. They turned us all from citizens into consumers, and told everyone that you have the freedom to choose what music to listen to, what television shows to watch, what low-wage job to accept or what good job to compete against a hundred other applicants, what tiny basement suite or SRO to rent if you can’t afford anything better. But you’re told that when it comes to the true right to the city, you only get a few small choices every few years. And these choices will always have to get prior approval from the 1 percent, and the financial markets, and the real estate markets, before we’re even allowed to make any choice at all.
Demand more. Demand the right to the city. It belongs to all of us.
–Elvin Wyly (in an excerpt from To Claim the Right to the City, Turn Left)
The urban Occupy movement began in September 2011, and it continues to evolve. On the program, urban geographer Elvin Wyly talks about the Occupy movement as collectively claiming a right to the city – a right to live in just cities that are socially and economically equitable.
We then speak with an organizer from Occupy the Midwest, which is a Detroit conference drawing people from midwest cities and beyond. We discuss the socio-economic contexts of Chicago and Detroit, and this regional Occupy conference as part of the evolution of the movement in a part of the country particularly devastated by neoliberal capitalism.
The May 8th podcast is available here. In the podcast, you’ll find coverage of pro-democracy protests in Moscow as Putin begins his third term as president, and dissent is silenced by security forces. Gazans move into new housing, yet much more is needed to address the housing shortage. Also in the program, you’ll hear how the Musqueam continue their struggle to protect sacred lands in Marpole from development and the desecration of their burial grounds. The City brings you recent developments on this ongoing struggle and the recent rally and march. And in the last part of the podcast, The City speaks with Michael McCarthy Flynn about Vancouver’s Living Wage Campaign and the recently released 2012 Living Wage report.
The May 1st podcast is available here. You’ll find coverage of International Workers’ Day activities in New York City and Vancouver, and the importance of class struggle and labour activism explained by prolific Marxist geographer David Harvey. In the second half of the show, The City discusses social polarization in Toronto with UBC Geography graduate student Liam McGuire. Liam’s mapping of the Ten Cities of Toronto is below. His research follows the work of University of Toronto’s David Hulchanski on the Three Cities within Toronto.
Gerald Caplan published a chilling opinion piece in today’s Globe and Mail: Don’t tell us it’s not a class war. Democracy Now! recently covered (and continues to cover) the public uprising in Greece as a result of high unemployment and deep austerity cuts, impoverishing many formerly working and middle class Greeks. Throughout history, inequality has had profound implications for urban revolutions and uprisings – and the breakdown of public order. Austerity measures, as Naomi Klein documented in The Shock Doctrine, increase inequality and further concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at the top.
The Guardian and the London School of Economics provided, to my knowledge, the most comprehensive qualitative study analyzing the underlying reasons for the 2011 London riots. There is a great 20-minute film available on The Guardian‘s website here.
Please share any comments or articles on these issues that you found particularly interesting.