CITIES AFTER... is a bi-monthly podcast by Miguel Robles-Duran about the future of cities; grounded in our daily urban struggles, it is part dystopian and part utopian. The intention is to entice civic imagination into action, because a more just and sustainable urban future is possible.
Urban Ecology, Dialectical Thinking, and Climate Change - Pt. 1
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán introduces a summer series on climate change, urban ecology, and its dialectical origins. It is essential to first differentiate how urban ecology should be understood in contrast to the typical green positivist canopy in which is commonly inscribed. In subsequent episodes throughout this summer, Robles-Durán will attempt to transform popular positivist thinking about climate solutions into active and dynamic anti-capitalist directions for facing head-on what has produced the crisis we are in.
Spring 2022 Grassroots Special: Lessons for Collective Action from La PAH’s Fight for Housing Rights
This week we want to introduce the first Cities After…Grassroots Special, a quarterly series in which Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with core members of grassroots social movements about critical lessons from their work in the streets and the many projects they are pursuing to fight for the right to the city.
For the inaugural episode, Robles-Durán spoke with Santiago Mas De Xaxas Faus, João França, Delia Ccerare Paniora and Maka Suarez, four core members of Spain's most successful housing movement: La PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, translated as The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages). They speak about their recently published La PAH: A Handbook—A manual that offers ideas, based on their 13 years of experience, for ways of organizing, mobilizing people, empowering people, and building networks between social movements and organizations, specifically in regards to the right to affordable and decent housing for all.
About La PAH: Established as a direct grassroots response to the 2008 financial crisis that burst the biggest housing bubble in Spain’s modern history, the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages has over 250 branches across the country and has instigated a paradigm shift in terms of viewing housing as an inalienable human right, and has demonstrated the strength of collective action in the pursuit of greater social justice. It has shown that there are ways of making the personal political and transforming struggles based initially on personal dramas into large, organized movements that challenge the authorities and our wider society.
Miodrag Mitrašinović on Public Space, Oligarchy and Urbanization - Pt. 4
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with Miodrag Mitrašinović, one of the world’s foremost researchers on public space. Robles-Durán and Mitrašinović consider differing definitions of “public space,” contrast Hudson Yards in Manhattan with Corona Plaza in Queens as distinct public investments with vastly different impacts on New York City’s residents, and speculate about a more equitable future in which communities can reappropriate the means of production of urban space away from oligarchs and philanthropists in order to build spaces that serve larger cultural, social, and political processes.
Oligarchy and the Dark Side of Urbanization: Infrastructure and Public Spaces - Pt. 3
Billionaires, or more accurately, oligarchs, exert disproportional influence and control over the world’s political power, media outlets, military discourse, human labor, and natural and urban resources, including those that we commonly regard as public. In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán looks at the idea of "public space" and asks: Is there anything "public" left in our urban and territorial infrastructure? What is the meaning of "public" within an oligarchy? How did the neoliberal agenda push public resources into the hands of private stakeholders and what can we do to reclaim and reinvest in truly public spaces?
Laura Raicovich on Oligarchy and Dark Money: Museums, Art and Culture - Pt. 2
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán talks with Laura Raicovich, NY-based writer and art curator, about the roles that the global oligarchy plays in art museums and cultural institutions. They discuss how cultural institutions have never been the neutral, inclusive spaces they often market themselves as. Rather, these spaces, both public or private, rely heavily on private funding by elite donors and wealthy board members. Robles-Durán and Raicovich look closely at these complexities within major art institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, consider the dark money that funds these spaces, and highlight some organizations that are trying to reimagine cultural spaces with equity and care at the forefront.
About our guest: Laura Raicovich is a New York-based writer and art curator. Her latest book, Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest, addresses Western western cultural institutions’ long history of representing “neutrality” while protecting the political interests of the oligarchs, the elites, and those in power. She most recently served as interim director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, a museum devoted to queer art and artists and is the recipient of both the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship and the inaugural Emily H. Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators at Hyperallergic.
Until early 2018, she served as President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum where she oversaw an inviting and vital commons for art, ideas, and engagement. Prior to the Queens Museum, Raicovich inaugurated Creative Time’s Global Initiatives, where she successfully expanded the organization’s international work; launched Creative Time Reports, a media initiative featuring artists’ perspectives on world news and events; and directed the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference on art and social justice. She arrived there after a decade at Dia Art Foundation, where she served as deputy director and was a key member of the senior team during a period of transformation for the institution that included the opening of Dia:Beacon. Prior to that, she worked at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Public Art Fund, and New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation.
Raicovich lectures internationally and has organized numerous talks and programs, including the two collaborations on series of public seminars at The New School’s Vera List Center for Arts and Politics and she is a member of the transnational consultancy Urban Front.
Urban Emptiness and the Pandemic [REPEAT]
This week we are rebroadcasting our first episode of Cities After..., originally released in April of 2021. In this episode, Prof. Robles-Durán explores the urban shifts surrounding the dramatic rise of commercial and residential vacancies during the global pandemic.