David Harvey “The Right to the City”

citiizensIn addition to utilizing spaces within the city, David Harvey reiterates the notion that residents also have the right to make changes to already existing spaces. This fundamental “right to the city” allows residents to reimagine what society could be and possibly its inhabitants. Building from Robert Park’s notion that in building cities to their likeness, man has redesigned himself, Harvey states “the right to remake ourselves by creating a qualitatively different kind of urban sociality is one of the most precious of all human rights”. The notion that we change ourselves in creating our world, Harvey argues is the dialectical relationship guiding human labor.

thrachThe paradox lies and weather what we have built is creative or destructive. Harvey asks whose rights and whose city? Does the city serve all or is it reserved for a select group? Is it socially just or are the rights of one group more important than the rights of another? Although he gives a nod toward Utopian planning and justice ideals, he prefaced it with Thrasymachus’ argument that justice is simply what ever the ruling class wants it to be.  I think Harvey is trying to say that we must strive for a socially just society, but the minority must sometimes fight to attain these rights.


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