The Right to Belong in the City: Bursting the Bubble City

Marc was recently invited to give a lecture during the Fundamental Rights Forum held in Vienna from 25-27 September 2018. Organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the event brought together leading figures from politics, governmental organisations, business, academia, the arts and other areas to reignite dialogue about human rights challenges in the EU.

As part of the Connect.Reflect.Act series, Marc’s lecture focused on belonging – having the right to feel at home in the city, to feel connected to a place and settle down. But this is challenging at a time when people live within their own bubbles and are paradoxically more connected (online) yet segregated (offline) than ever. So how can we burst the bubble city and create a sense of community within cities today?

There seems to be a disconnect between our inner home sphere, where people feel safe in their tribes, and the outer public sphere that is the anonymous public realm of the city. What’s missing is an intermediary community sphere where people can build long-term relationships with neighbours, local businesses and connect with others outside their tribe; a local network close to home with the social experience of a village but within the context of the city.

We believe that the concept of an urban village, such as Superlofts, allows people to easily connect, settle down and invest in local social networks. As open, mixed-(use) developments Superlofts engages its diverse group of residents to participate in shaping how they want to live and, to share and take care of each other. This results in local communities who invest in their surroundings and feel a greater sense of belonging, and contributes to creating more inclusive cities. In order to promote these community-focused developments, from an urban policy level, we need to develop more intelligent urban regulations and planning tools for a more bottom up approach to urban development to protect community stakeholders and community wealth.

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