“In 2004 the UK imported 17.2 million Kilos of chocolate-covered waffles and wafers and exported 17.6 million kilos; we imported 10.2 million Kilos of milk and cream by weight, from France and exported 9.9 million. The figures for the same trade with Germany were 15.5 million Kilos and 17.2 million. Germany sent us 1.5 million Kilos of potatoes and we sent them, yes, 1.5 million Kilos of potatoes. We imported 43.000 scarves from Canada and exported 39.000. Drink is swilling around the international markets.  The UK imported £310 million  worth of beer in 2004 and exported £313 million worth. For spirits the figures were £344 million and £463 million respectively . Just as we imported 44.000 tonnes of frozen boneless cuts of chicken, we exported 51.000 tonnes of fresh boneless chicken.” Andrew Simms

We had the pleasure of recieving Mr. Thyagarajan as a visitor the other day. As he describes in the video below he has extensive experience in regional and urban planning in cities such as Detroit, Baltimore, and New York, as well as developing public transport in London and now working for cleaner energy. He also teaches at the University of Albany. We were fortunate to recieve his wisdom and insights on how Stockholm might be better connected, and between long discussions with our architects he gave us a short interview on what he sees in trying to connect a city. Have a look..

Filmed by David

Last week we had Sanjoo Malhotra in to talk about how he connects cultures as a chef. Tandoori and meatballs, Sweden and India – the dinner table as a point for intercultural networks makes a lot of sense. He will be cooking at Kulturhuset on the 3rd for those who are more interested.

Filmed by David

We had the pleasure of meeting Håkan Forsell, and Urban Historian from Örebro University the other day to talk about the history of Stockholm and find out his thoughts about connecting Stockholm. He’s spoken in previous works about the economy of segregation regarding the housing markets, and about the reasons for segregation in a city. I beleive that we’ll be posting a more detailed description of the meeting in a bit, but I had to post a clip. It’s facinating to talk about the city emerging as a marketplace rather than a common living space. I wonder what the city might mature into next. The time seems ripe to mature beyond a purely economic city.

Posted by David

The result of the recent elections in Sweden has shown that there is considerable frustration concerning immigration policy. That the questions even exist is disgusting: what should the government do with immigrants? how many should be allowed in? from where? and how will we take care of them? I think rather the question is, how can we connect with each other? Open the borders up! Let people in! If we work to understand each other our culture will flourish, if we try to protect it, I fear that it will only die. The duality between concepts like city/suburb, majority/minority, all result in these absurd normative definitions of what an urban area is and can be.

Integration policy – and as an extension of it the policy of urban renewal – is almost exclusively focused on the impact of immigration on the host society: the consequences for social cohesion and national identity, the spatial concentration of disadvantaged groups, and social conflicts. Very little attention is paid to the way in which migrants – in the new, literal sense of the word: that is, people who do not settle permanently elsewhere – create worlds beyond the borders: transnational worlds. That phenomenon is not the same as globalization, in which the whole world seems to become homogenous. Globalization is about the increasing importance of flows (particularly of information and money), the decreasing importance is places and local properties, and a growing sense of uprootedness, of not feeling at home anywhere. Changes in the meaning of place and locality are a result of the increasing mobility of different groups and certainly play a role in the formation of transnational worlds. However, they are not purely the result of the strategies of multinationals and international organizations. They are above all the outcome of the actions of individuals and households. Those individuals do not simply exchange their home in one country for a place in another country, but create new links and networks between different places all over the globe. What is at issue here is not the existence of one world here and another world there, but the links between them.

T. Rieniets, J Sigler, K. Christiaanse, Open City: Designing Coexistence

Etymologically segregation has a moralistic tone, a religious tone:

segregate Look up segregate at Dictionary.com
1540s, from L. segregatus, pp. of segregare “separate from the flock, isolate, divide,” from *se gregare, from se “apart from” (see secret) + grege, ablative of grex “herd, flock” (see gregarious). Originally often with reference to the religious notion of separating the flock of the godly from sinners.  (Etymonline)

The purpose of segregation is to create boundaries, for our own security. This logic finds its way to the media when in Sweden it is common to blame social problems on immigration or waves of ideas spreading up from Europe. Blaming social problems on minorities is nothing new, but it’s a shame if we continue to do this. After the Swedish Democrats have come to power, the discussion has been almost solely about the problem of their parliamentary existence, or even that the media or politicians are patronizing the party and it’s supporters and not actually addressing the problems that the immigration policy has evidently created. Yet what these problems are remain to be discussed. Strangely. I feel that we need deeper dialogues about what it actually means to segregate and to connect.

Posted by David