Our anthropocene era, characterized by unequal over-consumption of resources, places the city under a radical need for change. While suggestions are proposed, such as decay, technological utopia or the notion of common goods, urban development continues to associate these alternatives with a supply strategy that does not evolve at the pace imposed by climatic and urban tensions. Scientif comunity is clear, we have 10 years to make a big change and the dreaded runaway effect is already becoming observable. On this way, we have to understand Anthropocene as a political concept that affirmes not only our responsibility as humans for climate change or biodiversity loss, but also the consequences that this has on the society, its organisation and its main issues. This is why anthropocene is a transcendental concept that goes far beyond its geological legitimacy and/or the antropocentric characteristics highlighted by its detractors. It is a political concept because it must serve to redefine our relationship to our environment and especially because it subjectivises the problem of climate change. The anthropocene is not an exogenous problem that we have to solve - which would be equivalent to acting on the symptoms - but places us as both subject and object of the problem (we are the cause of climate disruption and of the sixth massive extension). And if neoliberalism has understood this well by individualizing responsibilities (an injunction to act on our individual practices to save the planet), it omits the games of scales and the articulations between the individual and the collective that politics plays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The relevance of the political fact holds all its place in the problem of articulation between individuals and the world around them, but also between individuals themselves. It defines our way of relating to the world - Weltanschauung/Cosmovision - and our way of articulating ourselves in order to define it. From then on, democracy, as a major political fact of articulation of individuals to each other and to the world around them, is defined as the main subject of the anthropocene.

We find this inspiration in a cross-reading of different currents which all have in common to think of the political fact as a superstructure directly linked to the realization of the subject. Dewey, Arendt, Foucault, Camus think of the subjectivisation of the political fact as a transcendental and constitutive element, not only of the individual, but also of his articulation with others and with the world around him. Of course, they have different ways of interpreting it, and one could further complicate it with the heterogeneous contributions of El Lissitzky, Thoreau or Lefebvre, but this has the merit of proposing a new political perspective to the analysis of the anthropocene, which takes on its full scope in its connection with the urban question.

Among all the conceptual declinations of the anthropocene, it is those of the capitalocene and the urbanocene that are the most accepted. Perhaps because of their explicit relationship, but above all because urbanization and capitalism are constituents of the society that imposed the anthropocene: between 50 and 70% of individuals live in urban centres governed by the capitalist economy. Cities, which are not only one of the main causes of climate disruption and biodiversity loss, but are also at the centre of the political conception of the anthropocene. This epistemological relationship between the city, the political fact and the citizen (polis, politikos, polites) makes explicit the problem of articulation in our way of living in the world. City is not an accumulation of individuals, but a tangle of social and political dynamics formed by individuals but which also depend on other scales. The question of housing illustrates this very well: if on the one hand the accumulation of individual behaviour allows the growth of cooperative housing, on the other hand the financialisation of the built environment monopolises housing as a source of profit. The articulation between the two - to build the city we want, but also to face the challenges of the anthropocene - is a political and democratic question.

How today, in this context of the political anthropocene, can we bring out and articulate new ways of relating ourselves to the world? What forms of subjectification do cities offer? How can democracy articulate them in terms of scale and of the collective?

Extract from DO THE RIGHT THINGS, Spike Lee

Can we bring out and articulate new ways of relating ourselves to the world ? What forms of subjectification do cities offer ? How can democracy articulate them in terms of scale and of the collective?

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