Urban commons: Almost ignored in city planning Commons act as a nutritional buffer, safety net for migrants; middle-class, wealthy residents no less dependent
hile the ecological consequences of the damage (which include floods, droughts and heat waves) are widely discussed, the social outcomes receive less attention. Commons represent those rare spaces in increasingly segregated cities where the rich and the poor can still meet, children of all classes play together and collaborations for conservation can occur. However, smart city plans and restoration projects take an approach that de-commonises the commons by evicting people who depend on them most. Beach sides, river fronts, lakes and parks become gated spaces, accessible only to those who can pay, and available only for recreational use, often coupled with “entertainment” in the form of flashing lights, loud music and food courts that evict wildlife. Our cities can hold out any promise of a better future only if the commons play a central role in urban planning.
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