Sep 11, 2011

Architecture of Consequences | Arkitektura e Pasojave

via Steven Heller
Anticipating the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I wanted to ask how the concept of democracy and freedom has changed in the cities, this past decade? What is the architecture of consequences when the city itself becomes a technology of war; when it becomes a geopolitical landscape, a materialistic organization of territory?

Military Power [visible] vs. Weak Regime [latent]
Technology of War [Politics] vs. Human Rights [City]

DAVID vs GOLIATH???

Saskia Sassen, the well-known sociologist and urban researcher has written extensively on the subject of urban warfare and I'd like to share a few notes on her understanding of the city as technology of war.
When the City Itself Becomes a Technology of War.
Over and over history shows us the limits of power. The urbanizing of war points to the limits of power, and perhaps, the weight of weak orders such as the human rights regime. This is built into the asymmetric nature of modern warfare in urban settings. Asymmetric wars are partial, intermittent and lack clear endings. 
The center no longer holds. It is hard to find a balance.
When great powers fail in self-restraint we have what Mearsheimer has called the tragedy of great powers. It would seem that unilateral decisions by the greater power are not the only source of restraint: in an increasingly interdependent world, the most powerful countries find themselves restrained through multiple interdependencies.
Cities can function as a type of weak regime that can obstruct and temper the destructive capacity of the superior military power, yet another component for systemic survival in a world where several countries have the capacity to destroy the planet.
We need to open up powerlessness (city) into a variable: at one end, it is elementary and can be understood simply as the absence of power. But at the other end, powerlessness becomes complex and hence a far more ambiguous condition.
There is a direct dependence of everyday life in cities on massive infrastructures and on institutional-level supports for most people – apartment buildings, hospitals, vast sewage systems, water purification systems, vast underground transport systems, whole electric grids dependent on computerized management vulnerable to breakdowns.
There exists a latent threat to this weak regime, a latent power to the powerlessness.
New Realities
The urbanizing of war and its consequences can explain why cities are losing older capacities to transform potential conflicts into the civic. In the last two centuries, the traditional foundation for the civic in its European conception has largely been the ‘civilizing’ of bourgeois capitalism; this corresponds to the triumph of liberal democracy as the political system of the bourgeoisie. Today, capitalism is a different formation, and so is the political system of the new global elites. These developments raise a question about what might be the new equivalent of what in the past was the civic.
The ascendance of cities as a strategic front line space for major global governance challenges is the new (public) format, which shows an increasingly urban articulation of territory for a wide range of processes: from war to global corporate capital to the increasing use of urban space to make political claims.
What is the politics of urban identity? How the concept of democracy and freedom has changed in the cities? Parks, boulevards, monuments, and other cultural and civic properties were designed to be public, open, and welcoming. Now they have concrete barriers and are fences. A symbol of global governance. Is the architecture of consequences now, an architecture of fear, caution, or plain bureaucratic?

Washington D.C._photo by *diagstudio
Duke pritur 10-vjetorin e 9/11, doja te dija se si ka ndryshuar koncepti i demokracise dhe lirise ne qytete ne dekaden e fundit?

Cfare eshte architektura e pasojave kur vete qyteti shnderrohet ne nje teknologji lufte; kur ai eshte kthyer ne hapesire gjeopolitike, ne nje organizim materialist territori?

Pushteti [Fuqia] i dukshem [i qarte] vs. Regjimi [Fuqia] i dobet [i heshtur]
Teknologjia e Luftes [Politika] vs. Jeta Njerezore [Qyteti]

DAVID vs GOLIATH???
Kur Vete Qyteti Kthehet ne nje Teknologji Lufte
by Saskia Sassen.
Here pas here historia na tregon limitin e pushtetit. Urbanizimi i luftes tregon limitin e pushtetit, dhe ndoshta peshen e urdhrave te dobta, sic eshte regjimi i te drejtave te njeriut. Kjo gje eshte ndertuar brenda karakterit asimetrik te luftes moderne ne zonat urbane. Lufta asimetrike s'eshte e plote, ka nderprerje dhe jo nje fund te qarte. 
Qendra nuk zoteron me. Eshte veshtire te gjendet nje ekuiliber.
Kur fuqite e medha deshtojne ne vetepermbajtje kemi ate qe Mearsheimer ka quajtur tragjedi te fuqive te medha. Duket sikur vendimet e njeanshme te ketyre pushteteve nuk jane burimi i vetem i kesaj permbajtje: ne nje bote gjithnje e me te [nder]varur, vendet me te fuqishme e gjejne veten te kufizuar nepermjet lidhjeve te shumta. 
Qytetet mund te funksionojne si nje lloj regjimi i dobet qe mund te pengoje dhe te modifikoje kapacitetin shkaterrues te fuqive superiore ushtarake, ende nje tjeter komponent per mbijetesen sistematike ne nje bote ku disa vende kane kapacitetin per te shkaterruar planetin.
Na duhet ta ekspozojme kete pafuqi (qytetin) si nje variabel: nga njera ane eshte elementare dhe mund te kuptohet thjeshte si mungese pushteti. Por ne anen tjeter pafuqia behet komplekse dhe si rrjedhoje, nje situate shume me e paqarte (e mjegullt).
Jeta e perditshme ne qytet varet direkt nga infrastrukturat masive dhe mbeshtetjet e nivelit institucional (per shumicen e njerezve) si: ndertesat e banimit, spitalet, sistemet e ujerave te zeza, sistemet e pastrimit te ujit, sistemet nentokesore te transportit, rrjetet elektrike te varura nga nje menaxhim i kompjuterizuar, rrezikojne te bien pre e shkaterrimit. 
Ekziston nje kercenim i heshtur ndaj ketij regjimi te dobet, nje fuqi e heshtur e kesaj pafuqie.
Washington D.C._photo by *diagstudio
Realitete te Reja 
Urbanizimi i luftes dhe pasojat e tij mund te shpjegojne pse qytetet po humbasin kapacitetet e hershme per te transformuar konfliktet e mundshme ne akte civile. Ne dy shekujt e fundit, baza tradicionale per civilizim (qyteterim) ne konceptimin e tij Europian ka qene kryesisht ‘civilizimi’ i kapitalizmit borgjez; kjo korrespondon me triumfin e demokracise liberale si sistem politik i borgjezise. Sot, kapitalizmi ka marre nje forme tjeter, po ashtu edhe sistemi politik i elites se re globale. Keto zhvillime ngrejne pyetjen se cfare mund te jete ekuivalenti i ri i asaj qe ne te kaluaren perbente qyteterimin. 
Mbizoterimi i qyteteve si nje hapesire strategjike qendrore per sfidat e medha te qeverisjes globale, eshte formati i ri (publik), i cili tregon nje rritje te artikulimit urban te territorit per nje game te gjere te proceseve: nga lufta tek kapitali global i korporatave, tek perdorimi me i shumte i hapesirave urbane per te bere kerkesa politike. 
Washington D.C._photo by *diagstudio 
Kush eshte politika e identitetit urban? Si ka ndryshuar koncepti i demokracise dhe lirise ne qytete? Parqet, bulevardet, monumentet dhe objekte te tjera kulturore dhe civile jane krijuar te jene publike, te bollshme dhe mikpritese. Tani ato rrethohen nga blloqe betoni dhe hekura. Nje simbol i qeverisjes globale. A eshte tani arkitektura e pasojave nje arkitekture frike, kujdesi apo thjeshte burokratike?

*For more information go to  New York Times.
*For more photos go to Foreign Policy.
*For a video of Ground Zero today, go to NYT/Reckoning.

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