“Call for Submissions”- Poster for MONU #4, July 2005

Denied Urbanism
By Bernd Upmeyer and Thomas Söhl

Whenever a city’s elite dreams up an image or a vision for the city, alarm bells should ring. All too commonly those images – the supposed character of urban life are so narrowly conceived by that they don’t have any relation to reality. The consequences of this myopia are fatal. Instead of strengthening and developing the urban life that daily surrounds them they chase mirages – the culture capital, a baroque city, the European city, the growing city, the high-tech region… the stock of urban brand clichés seems unlimited.

The urban development strategies spawned by these mirages tend to enhance an image and a set of values that a city represents for a small but powerful minority. Grotesquely the majority of urban life is defined as the fringe – excluded as the other – the diversity and richness of a city is denied in order to create an easily understandable representational image.

Similar dynamics play out around the globe in different forms and shapes; perpetuated by different elites within different political contexts; in cities big, small, grand and pathetic. With always-similar results: a very narrow definition of city is embraced while the rest of urban life – the other – is dismissed, neglected or actively discriminated against.

Title: Denied Urbanism
Author: Bernd Upmeyer, Thomas Söhl
Date: July 2005
Type: Call For Submissions for MONU
Publications: MONU – Magazine on Urbanism
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands