Number One City

urban competiveness and policies of fairness

  • Lecture
  • Space Invaders

Date: 12.06.16
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Location: Las Palmas, Wilhelminakade 332 (entrance Fotomuseum)
Admission: € 5,00
Language: English

Please join us on the Wilhelminapier for Space Invaders #3, the third in a series of talks in public space. Amongst Rotterdam’s tallest skyscrapers on the roof of Las Palmas, De Dépendance organises a public talk on the competitive city with professor of financial geography Ewald Engelen.

The contemporary city is often conceptualised as an economic machine geared up for competition with other cities, chasing high city rankings to attract inhabitants, tourists and capital. In the competitive city, iconic architecture, city branding, well-endowed museums, large financial centres and free Wi-Fi are the means to future economic success. Rotterdam is no different: ever since the city was rebuilt it has imagined and subsequently branded itself as a metropolis, building bold towers to stand out. The recent rise in positive attention for the city seems to show the strategy’s success. But is this the right way to become a prosperous and successful city? Does competitive success benefit all citizens? Or might we need another kind of narrative?

On the roof of Las Palmas, surrounded by the skyscrapers that cemented Rotterdam’s metropolitan dream, De Dépendance will examine the ideal of urban competition with a lecture by financial geographer Ewald Engelen. In a recently published manifesto entitled “How to build a fairer city”, Engelen argues that we are trapped by the idea of the externally competitive city as a basis for economic success and concludes that prosperity is failing to trickle down. In his lecture, Engelen will examine ways to build a fairer city for all, by changing both the imaginary and the practice underlying economic and social policy.

Ewald Engelen is professor of financial geography at the University of Amsterdam and, according to his twitter account, “gentleman-hooligan”. He is a columnist for De Groene Amsterdammer and Follow The Money and a regular commentator on all things capitalist on television and radio. Engelen holds a PhD in political philosophy and has written extensively on the economic crisis and its causes, the current political and financial systems and Europe’s democratic deficit. In his latest book, De Kanarie in de Kolenmijn (The Canary in the Coalmine), Engelen and co-writer Marianne Thieme warn against the unsustainability of the current political and financial system and plead for the necessity of radical renewal.

The talk is moderated by Geert Maarse

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