Why the lack of faith in the discipline of Urbanism?

A few days ago, Oriol Bohigas, architect and urban planner, spoke in an interview for the newspaper El País about the lack of political commitment of the the current generation of architects. I would add the term “social” to the word commitment and “urbanists” together with architects.

Nowadays politics are outrageously dominated by economy and markets, I strongly believe there is an urgent need of a type of professional able to make decisions about the city, decisions that will come undoubtedly linked to the field of politics. I am not talking about technocracy applied to politics, but the other way around, introduce politics as part of the urban practice.

Is it possible to think that governments and administrations listen to a urban planner when they have to make decisions about the city? They did it with Bohigas and there are the results, in the city of Barcelona, was this an exceptional case, isolated?

On a personal level I myself have perceived this lack of faith in the profession. Not long ago I had a conversation with two architects with an extensive experience, during which I presented a project focused on the research of ways to use and implement a more flexible urban code, more committed to reality, more responsive to user demands (project to which this blog belongs).

They were convinced that the gap between the academic and professional urban discipline is insurmountable, and showed a lack of faith about betting on a proposal trying to establish a connection between the two worlds.

Making city is a complex term, interdisciplinary and political in its definition. We need a stronger commitment in improving people´s life, in getting away from the servitude towards financial and real states interests, to give Urbanism its status back.

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