Intervention – “Reclaiming the ‘Liveable City’ as Normative Reference Point: Against Totalising Aspirational Political Discourses”

Breve pero exhaustiva revisión de la literatura y el discurso sobre la ‘liveable city’,y sus usos.

AntipodeFoundation.org

Steffen WetzsteinSteffen Wetzstein (Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Universität Erfurt)

This short commentary takes issue with the rise of totalising aspirational political discourses in urban politics and policy making in an increasingly unequal and polarising world. Framed by recent academic debates on what makes a city liveable and for whom, and by using fresh empirical evidence from Auckland, New Zealand, it is shown how the “liveable city” idea is distorted and discredited by its use in contemporary political and policy contexts. By illuminating the contradiction between the proclaimed superior liveability for New Zealand’s leading metropolitan centre on the one hand, and the socially highly unsustainable housing affordability outcomes on the other hand, the currently fashionable unapologetic use of universalising aspirational rhetoric by actors of the contemporary elite is illustrated, its implications for social and political exclusion are shown, and its possible motives investigated. This intervention concludes with a call…

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