'You actually have to really build a collaborative relationship with the people on the ground if you want to have any hope of understanding what’s going on.'
July 30, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

"Let’s Map Who Owes The Local Warlord Money": Meet An Urban Planner For Cities That Don't Yet Exist (via Small Wars Journal).

David Kilcullen writes in 'The City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience' (via Abu Muqawama, CNAS)
In this model, the coastal city is the center of a larger system, with rural factors in the city’s hinterland—including environmental degradation, poor rural infrastructure, and rural conflict—prompting rapid urbanization. This creates ad hoc peri-urban settlements where slums and shantytowns displace land formerly used to provide food and other services to the city, and cover the rainfall catchment area for the city’s water supply. The city’s growth puts its infrastructure under stress, so that both the old urban core and the new peri-urban areas experience weak governance, crime, urban poverty, unemployment and conflict. Shortages of food, fuel, electricity and water exacerbate these problems. In turn, the city’s connectedness allows its population to tap into licit and illicit activities offshore, and to connect with global networks, including diaspora populations, an interaction that affects both local and international conflict dynamics.
Forbes interviewed Kilcullen: 'Most of our work focuses on applying design thinking to help government and private sector clients find innovative ways to stabilize conflict-affected and poverty-afflicted environments.' The New Yorker profiled him in 2006, saying “After 9/11, when a lot of people were saying, ‘The problem is Islam,’ I was thinking, It’s something deeper than that. It’s about human social networks and the way that they operate.”

Kilcullen spoke at Columbia University: The Future Of Conflict, and Everything Else (Youtube)
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Pointing out that inadequate infrastructure and services in both rural and urban areas are a human rights problem has not created much impetus for fixing things; hopefully calling it a security problem might bring some resources.
posted by Forktine at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2012

Didn't Borges already do this? Labyrinths.
posted by Fizz at 11:05 AM on July 30, 2012

Um, aren't there plenty of urban planners planning cities that don't yet exist? That's pretty much what urban planners do, no? I mean, I married one and that's pretty much what she does, laying out the shape of things to come and whatnot. Let's put in some mixed use development and a public transit hub here, some parking and streetscaping there... sometimes it's a project to revitalize an inner city, sometimes its a whole new one from scratch in some place like China, but always it's allocating limited resources to produce better results. This guy's just moved from more common things like allocating affordable housing units to distributing even more basic resources, though that's often part of an urban planner's job.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:50 PM on July 30, 2012

The headline is actually atrociously bad, but the article itself is interesting. But also kind of reads a bit too much like an advertisement for venture capital.
posted by mek at 2:24 PM on July 30, 2012

Baron Georges Eugene Haussmann (1809-1892) was appointed by Napoleon III on June 22, 1853 to "modernize" Paris. In this way, Napoleon III hoped to better control the flow of traffic, encourage economic growth, and make the city "revolution-proof" by making it harder to build barricades. Haussmann accomplished all this by tearing up many of the old, twisting streets and dilapidated apartment houses, and replacing them with the wide, tree-lined boulevards and expansive gardens which Paris is famous for today.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:51 PM on July 30, 2012

The State: Weaponised Forms: ' cities were always designed as war machines.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:59 PM on August 10, 2012

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