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Post-neoliberal cosmopolitics: articulating earthly forces and urban processes in Chile

Leitung Head Professur für Partizipative Technikgestaltung Assistant Professorship for Participatory Technology Design Prof. Dr. phil. Ignacio Farías Hurtado +49.89.289.29213 ignacio.farias@tum.de www.mcts.tum.de/personen/ professuren/ignacio-farias

Context and thesis This project explores the various effects of one specific geological event – a mega-earthquake followed by a huge tsunami – over the rationales, actors and instruments shaping urban politics in Chile. A core interest here is the relationship between disasters and urban cosmopolitics – the latter understood as the search for common worlds of cohabitation amongst heterogeneous human and nonhuman actors. As such, urban cosmopolitics is particularly concerned with exploring the political capacities of non-human actors. Disasters, such as the Chilean earthquake/tsunami, thus do not just entail processes of socionatural or sociotechnical disassembling, but they make apparent the pervading presence of earthly forces excluded from the existing designs of urban worlds. Taking into account the tsunami as a dangerous geo-urban entanglement posed a major challenge to the neoliberal framework of urban politics that has persisted in Chile since the 1970s. Firstly, it put to test the capacity of the existing urban government arrangements, specifically those that had been shaped by the municipalisation of urban planning prerogatives and a market-based approach to social housing provision, to react and adapt to the critical situation. Secondly, by making apparent the critical dependence of urban processes on earthly forces, the earthquake/tsunami led to reconceiving the art of government from a focus on the indirect regulation of autonomous urban dynamics (ie. markets) towards the masterplanning and constructing of ‘new’ urban assemblages. Interestingly, this entailed the emergence of new experts and knowledge forms hitherto not taken into account in the governance of urban processes, especially oceanographers holding expertise in the modelling of tsunamis, but also urban designers, as well as new approaches to citizen participation.

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Focus Area – Urban and Landscape Transformation

Case studies The project has focused on a series of case studies that highlight different aspects of this transformation. 1. Tsunamis as political events Focusing on the controversy surrounding the failure of the anti-tsunami warning system to recognize the occurring tsunami, this case study explores the capacity of earthly forces to exceed techno-scientific models and emerge as irreducible and powerful political actors. 2. Housing or market reconstruction? By studying the practical consequences of the government’s decision to approach the challenge of housing reconstruction by adapting existing social housing market arrangements, this case study provides a re-description of neoliberalism as a governmental practice based on situated improvisation. 3. Municipal governance experiments By looking at the two most affected regions, it has been possible to identify two governance strategies devised by municipalities to cope with the disaster situation, namely, creating governance consortiums with private corporations and passing on their planning prerogatives to the regional administrative level. Research has explored the logics of exception grounding these municipal governance experiments. 4. Master plans as cosmograms Perhaps the most salient feature of the reconstruction process in Chile has been the elaboration of master plans for city reconstruction, even though this instrument of territorial planning is not foreseen in any legislative body. We explore master plans as abstract diagrams of a possible urban cosmos.

Profile for Fakultät für Architektur TU München

Jahrbuch 2015  

Jahrbuch der Fakultät für Architektur, TUM mit einem Schwerpunkt auf Forschung und Entwicklung

Jahrbuch 2015  

Jahrbuch der Fakultät für Architektur, TUM mit einem Schwerpunkt auf Forschung und Entwicklung

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