Intro

Copyright: Rose Epple

Everybody is talking about the crisis, but how is it actually manifested? Have cities changed? And how could we overcome the crisis?
Since 2013, diagnoses have been given and discussed at the We-Traders forums and the We-Traders exhibitions in Lisbon, Madrid, Berlin, Turin and Toulouse. In 2015 We-Traders from Brussels will contribute new perspectives. Here are a few samples from autumn 2013.

 

Crisis and City

The effects of the financial crisis have been apparent in many southwestern European countries, but also in Germany. Real estate speculation has resulted in both vacancies and housing shortages and is pushing lower income people to the periphery. Social polarization is on the rise and individual sections of the population, such as young adults, are being cut off from viable developments. Socially compatible, ecological measures are becoming ever more urgent as is the search for solutions to demographic extremes such as fast growth and strong declines in the population.

Democracy and City

Appreciation for self-initiative in urban development increases in times of crisis. In many places, urban planning becomes open to participatory and cooperative methods. The reasons for such paradigm shifts are quite different and range from empty public coffers that demand low-cost projects to social vacuity left behind by excessively rapid growth – and thus a lack of civic sense. The digital media also strengthen demands for transparency and co-creation.

Market and City

The market is particularly interesting from an urbanistic perspective, because the origins of the city are found here. Historically, the market is a necessary criterion for every city. Markets enable the exchange of wares, skills and knowledge. In this way, the city remains open to change and retains its ties to the world. What’s to be done, though, when the markets fail and fall into disrepute due to speculation? It’s time to design the markets ourselves and to redefine the relationships between value, profit and common good: Welcome We-Traders!

Text by: Angelika Fitz