About conference 2012

Conference Rationale:

The democratic principles of liberty, equality, rights, and solidarity are valued by various democratic countries, yet decision-making and election mechanisms differ from country to country. From this perspective, it is worth researching the difference between mixed cities in democratic countries, to help us understand how democratic values can be promoted and implemented on the local, state, and global levels.

This conference will study mixed cities, with the goal of examining new ways to improve the quality of life for the different populations who share the city. Furthermore, the conference will ask whether decision-making mechanisms on the local level can challenge the state and its institutions to invest in its citizens, residents, migrant workers, and other residents.

The conference will examine a number of societal-historical processes that are bringing the conversation about mixed cities to the fore:

  1. Increasing Civil Awareness – A growing awareness of human and civil rights due to the increase of knowledge and the mass media. Residents from different groups are demanding their right to culture, inclusion, and accessibility. Diverse populations are demanding their voices be heard. The existing diversity is exposed, and demands to be realized. “The right to a city” is becoming a recognized right in the civil political literature.
  2. Globalization – The opening of the global markets has caused people to migrate between countries as they look for work and investment opportunities. Citizens of the world (belonging to various socio-economic groups), re-locate, often far from their place of birth. These processes create a new urban fabric, and with it new opportunities and challenges.
  3. Weakening of the Nation State – Many of the world’s problems are not being solved within the existing nation state (e.g. environmental and economic matters, global security, etc). Citizens, residents, intellectuals, sociologists, and planners look to alternative societal-political frameworks for solutions. Some see cities, in particular mixed cities, as one possible way to address these problems.
  4. Representation in local government – How well do the city and state governments represent the different voices in the community? How can an education system affect representation, both at the state, and more specifically, at the local level? The conference will examine the contradiction between a representative system and direct, online involvement.
  5. Environmental problems – Rapid technological developments are threatening the planet’s ecological balance. Urbanization is presented as both a cause and a solution of this problem. Any conversation about the ecological balance inherently touches upon the relationship between the social order and production and consumption processes. How and to what extent should the city, especially the mixed city, address these questions? (Population density, the role of community gardens and parks, separating and integrating industry and residential areas, etc).