CLACSO and the Global Platform for the Right to the City are organising a series of three dialogues to launch the workbook “The Right to the City in the Face of Today’s Challenges”

 

The objectives of these dialogues are to make the workbook known through the authors, to deepen our understanding of the Right to the City from different perspectives and to connect with other struggles. They will take place in July, August and September, dates to be confirmed.

Workbook “The right to the city in the face of today’s challenges”.

This workbook brings together various political and social perspectives to advance the realisation of the Right to the City in Latin America from the perspective of urban inequalities, through reflections that provide practical inputs to be used in awareness-raising, training and advocacy initiatives by interested actors and organisations.

Motivation and context

For more than half a century, the Right to the City has been an urban paradigm in movement, nourished both by academic contributions and by the mobilisation and demands of organisations and neighbourhoods around the world. The redistribution of material goods goes hand in hand with the democratisation of decision-making, in a conceptualisation of the city that emphasises its character as a political community and socio-ecological territory whose dynamics cannot be circumscribed to administrative boundaries. A revised notion of citizenship, which implies detaching it from the status of nationality and anchoring it instead in access to rights and opportunities for a dignified life.

From the Statute of the City of Brazil (2001) or the World Charter for the Right to the City (2005), to the Constitution of Ecuador (2008) or the Constitution of Mexico City (2017), the right to the city is now widely recognised in national and local legal frameworks in several countries in the region. In turn, its inclusion in the New Urban Agenda (2016), together with the Sustainable Development Goals (2015) and the Paris Agreement (2015), provides an important framework to follow up on the commitments made by governments around the world to address the root causes of social inequalities, urban segregation and climate change. But there is certainly a long way from paper to reality; and, like urban space, the right to the city is also a contested concept.

The multiple health, social, political, economic, climatic and environmental crises are strongly felt in Latin America. The retreat towards authoritarian practices and discourses that seek to make racism, misogyny and LGBT+phobia invisible as structural problems in our societies are worrying. The context of the global pandemic accentuates the challenges but also points to priorities and possibilities for the immediate future. The unprecedented emergency situation unleashed by COVID-19 highlights the interdependence and vulnerability of life, indicating the urgency of rethinking our cities and territories from the scale of proximity and an ethic of care. In this context, the role of communities and the public sphere becomes critical in order to advance strategies of solidarity and multi-scale collaboration towards more equitable, democratic and sustainable horizons.