Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11 aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
 

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

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This chapter summarises the material of the book. It revisits some of its core theoretical themes, suggesting that there are openings within the fissures presented by rentier capitalism’s corrosion of community, and its densification of everyday life within dwindling space. The author argues that these openings incorporate alternative strategies of social reproduction that signal a ‘will to become’: a desire for generational reconfiguration borne from the erosion of ‘secure’ pathways to traditional kinship structures.

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This chapter looks at the ways that affective politics circulate within precarious rental accommodation, amidst constricted desires and difficulties in holding boundaries. Moving from a discussion of sexual constriction to feelings of ‘displaced sovereignty’ among respondents who are mistreated by, yet defend, controlling landlord behaviour, the chapter makes connections between capital’s constriction of embodied agency and the suppression of political subjectivity. In the second part of the chapter, the author explores the efforts of queer collective households to realign their homes with desire for social and political transformation, and the tensions and challenges experienced along the way.

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This chapter sets out the substantive content of the book and its broad themes of generational inequality, housing unaffordability and intimate relationships. The chapter includes an account of the author’s personal housing experiences and an overview of their critique of the nuclear family. The author connects the generational disjunctures posed by housing inequality to the diminishing political purchase of the home-owning family, identifying the precarious intimacies of the rented sector as fertile ground for exploring this historical moment in the history of capitalism. There is also a discussion of methods.

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This chapter explores the immaterial, affective and invisibilised labour that renting respondents carried out to replenish their relationships. It first focuses on the affective labour carried out by some social housing residents affected by intergenerational histories of racial capitalism – something the author terms ‘cumulative precarity’. The chapter goes on to explore the precarious relational labour involved in creating a sense of belonging in transient, privately rented homes, looking at relationships to home improvement and outdoor space.

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This chapter draws out the politics of renting respondents’ reproductive imaginaries, and how they speak to the different lives that can be made and remade amidst precarity. The chapter explores the assumed dependentlessness embedded in the transient temporalities and dense spaces of London renting, and examines the ways that both social and private tenants’ access to social reproduction is eroded by the formulation of housing as either investment or consumption. The final section of this chapter shifts focus from the reproduction of families to the reproduction of romantic relationships.

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Generation, Rent and Reproducing Relationships in London

In a time of increasing social and economic inequality, this book illustrates the precarity experienced by millennials facing both rising rents and wage stagnation. Featuring the voices of those with lived experience of precarity in north-east London, MacNeil Taylor focuses on intimacy, reproduction and emotional labour.

The book widens readers’ understanding of a middle-class ‘generation rent’ beyond those locked out of anticipated home ownership by considering both social and private renters. Situated in a feminist and queer theoretical framework, the book reveals the crucial role of British policy-making on housing, welfare, and immigration on deepening inter- and intra-generational inequality.

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This chapter provides a conceptual overview of the theoretical literature and research on precarity, intimacy and reproduction. It unites these concepts to formulate a theory of precarious intimacy as the ‘place between difficulty and desire’ in insecure rented accommodation. This chapter also offers a geo-historical account of the assetisation of housing in Britain and specifically in London, with emphasis on the imperialist politics undergirding this process.

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This chapter describes community-based adult education as a social practice which seeks to address inequalities linked to class, gender and race oppression. Adult education is firmly rooted in traditions of social justice, and the work of community-based adult educators needs to be resourced, celebrated and prioritised as a matter of urgency. It is argued that the community-based adult learning that takes place in community settings is different to other forms of adult education which focus on fixed programmes of learning that are institutionally determined. Through case studies the impact of adult education around the world and in different settings is explored. The ideas of key theorists, such as Paulo Friere and Jack Mezirow, are presented alongside more contemporary thinking about adult education, such as that of Bagnall and Hodge.

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This chapter opens with a practitioner quote emphasising that arts approaches can open doors for people in a transformative way. The authors follow this thread through and build on it with strong images of change for individuals and communities and references to creative and arts-focused interventions. We reflect on activism in communities, stimulated through arts engagement, make the links between community development and culture, arts and health improvement, and harness important writing through our references. Building relationships is highlighted as essential to community work practice in general and is raised in the context of this chapter along with potential challenges of funding and policy realities in the world of community arts. Our case studies reflect international experiences and frequently reference empowerment leading to social change.

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Engagement is at the heart of what the community worker does. It is about working with communities, particularly those most marginalised, to find out what matters to them and then looking to work together to take action. This chapter follows the various stages of engagement from planning, to carrying it out, to making sure that it matters. Although it has a strong practical focus it argues that effective engagement requires a reflection on theory, particularly around power, voice and the valuing of knowledge. Too often, engagement can be tokenistic and part of a hegemonic process in which we consent to our own powerlessness. Community work needs to critically interrogate this process, bearing in mind inclusion, voice and multiple forms of knowledge.

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