The Urbanisation of Capital: On the Critique of the Political Economy of the City

Part of “Detroit – Berlin: One Circle”


English / 

In two discussions "The Urbanisation of Capital: On the Critique of the Political Economy of the City" and "Cultural Capital? On the Role of Cultural Producers in the City", Detroit and Berlin cultural producers, activists and urban researchers will examine the constellations, new developments and problem areas of the drastic change in the two cities from a comparative perspective. The panel debate "The Urbanisation of Capital: On the Critique of the Political Economy of the City” deals with topics such as gentrification, eviction and austerity by critiquing political and private economic actors. On the panel "Cultural Capital? On the Role of Cultural Producers in the City” the focus is on the consequences of “urban boosterism” and the development of the creative economy, which primarily views urban cooperation as an economic resource.

In Detroit, structural racism, suburbanization and violent austerity politics have led to the fact that the the City of Detroit and the civic society can hardly liberate themselves from the precarious situation by their own means. Berlin, however, is growing because of the appeal that the city has on nomadic, transnational-flexible creative subjects and investors as it promises cheap housing and alternative lifestyles. The 1967 “Detroit riots” intensified the “white flight” (the move of the white population to the rich suburbs) and the decline of the automobile industry. Since then Detroit’s population has fallen from 1,6 million to 700,000 people, a third of which live under the poverty line. At the moment, Detroit is experiencing a process of restructuring, driven by speculative large-scale investments in Downtown Detroit. This part of town is on its way to become a middle and upper class area once again, which keeps certain income groups and other classes of people from living there. Even local movements organized by engaged citizens have not been able to stop this development. Although Berlin has not been so drastically affected by Fordist and post-Fordist crises as Detroit, inner city neighbourhoods and former temporary alternative zones have become increasingly unaffordable whole the suburbs become unliveable. Both panel discussions will pose the question of urban space as a site of production from a variety of perspectives.

The panel debate "The Urbanisation of Capital: On the Critique of the Political Economy of the City" focuses on the regulation of public space. How is the local real estate market regulated? What zoning and usage laws exist in both cities? How do the respective city administrations intervene in the housing market and what consequences will the privatization of education, security and infrastructure have? These questions will be discussed by Ingrid LaFleur (Afrotopia), Joshua Akers (University of Michigan-Dearborn) and the artist Zoë Claire Miller (Berlin). 


With: Joshua Akers, Ingrid LaFleur, Zoë Claire Miller / Moderation: Lucas Pohl


  • Past
    Fri 1.6.2018, 19:00 / HAU1


Presented as part of “Detroit – Berlin: One Circle”, a festival by HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Supported within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin

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