This chapter introduces the idea of the Third Urban Revolution and the contemporary urban moment. It outlines how cities are a crucial juncture for political economy and civil society, the setting for new subjectivities and the platform for progressive social change, and provides an introduction to the chapters in the book. Keywords: urban moment, third urban revolution, cities, urbanization
David L. Feldman
Cities place enormous pressures on freshwater availability because they are often located some distance from the water sources needed by their populations. This compels them to build infrastructure to divert water from increasingly distant outlying rural areas, thus disrupting their social fabric and their environment. In addition, increasing urbanization due to population growth, economic change and sprawl places huge burdens upon the institutions as well as the infrastructure that delivers and treats urban water. Finally, the spatial “footprint” caused by sprawling horizontal urban development and annexation imposes numerous problems including paving of city streets and commercial districts (which contributes to pollutant runoff and diminished groundwater recharge); consumption of water for parks and outdoor residential use (increasing evapotranspiration and taxing local supplies); and urban waste discharges that affect local to global biogeochemical cycles and climate.
Kris Bezdecny and Kevin Archer
Nils Wåhlin, Maria Kapsali, Malin H. Näsholm and Tomas Blomquist
This chapter introduces the theme of the book by situating the narrative in an urban context. Through the lens of a ‘cultural turn’ perspective, potential city development avenues for the way ahead are discussed. High expectations are being made in relation to contemporary cities concerning how creativity can raise the imaginative capability among citizens and harness opportunities tied to what we in this book call ‘culture-driven growth’. The underlying assumption is that ordinary people can make the extraordinary happen if given the chance. Urban strategies, nowadays, are beginning to take on this challenge using increasingly sophisticated means by bringing forward ways of organizing that stimulates the sought-after values. In the international context is the European Capital of Culture initiative by the European Union a significant example of such strivings. In this chapter, we outline the characteristics of this large initiative and how these conditions became translated in one of the recent ECoCs – the City of Umeå in Sweden. This case is the centerpiece of our book and having been assessed by the European Union, it has now been forwarded by them as a role model for cities in the future that aspire to the title of European Capital of Culture. According to recent developments of ECoCs, the Umeå strategy of ‘co-creation’ based on the reciprocal dependency between the citizens and the city was formulated in a timely manner and attracted a lot of attention. This provided a good platform for our research project, which this book is based upon, through which we have investigated the pros and cons of such a strategy. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the analytic approach we pursued when conducting our study and how this is dealt with in the different chapters of the book.