Urbanity & the Nomadic World

I want to recapture ‘being civic’ as something urgent, interesting and compelling, and indeed to help start a movement where it becomes the new common sense. To kick things off I am writing a larger new book scheduled to be published in 2017.

How do you find anchorage, stability, constancy as well as identity, belonging, connection as well as a sense of place in this shifting landscape that feels like a confusing fog? What does being a citizen mean in a world of fragility and motion? These are the topics I wish to explore and hope to unscramble the complexity.

‘The Civic City’ covers the new norm that is nomadic as everyone and everything is on the move. There is mobility and not only for people, but for capital, for jobs, for commodities, for information, for ideas. In the new interdependent world, people move within and across countries in search of a better life – never more than today. Up to a billion people are in motion, many moving from rural areas to cities. Add to this the vast flows of refugees we are witnessing that will remain a permanent feature over the next decades and already seriously affects over 30 countries globally in the North and the South. This creates challenges for arrival as well as departure cities. There are frenzied finance movements, and companies and factories are on the move in search of cheap labour and markets. In this digital age these forces contribute to the ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ phenomenon changing how we interact with space, place and time.

Those vast numbers moving to places long-term are joined by 1.3billion tourists and many have multiple destinations. This is up to from 10millon in 1950 – a 130,000 (!) fold increase. And let us not forget the daily travel movements of working people or their business, shopping and leisure trips. Consider the astonishing fact that at any given moment 20 million containers are crossing the seas. Think of the 1.2 billion cars, vans and trucks in motion perhaps clocking 45 trillion kilometres annually; imagine the 3 million train locomotives, railcars, and coaches trundling to their destinations clocking up 12.7 billion kilometres in 2013 and this 25% up 2001; ponder the 48 billion kilometres a year the 20,000 strong commercial airline fleet cover and predicted to double in 15 years. And let’s forget cycling and walking the most common form of movement.

Here is the ISBN 9789462082984 for the new book, published by the interesting outfit nai010 in Rotterdam. Contact Marcel Witwoet at marcel@nai010.com for advance orders and discounts.

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