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Some of the key changes that cities may experience in a de-growth society - Dissertation Example

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In modern society, urban designers have to respond to two contradictory needs: the need for continuous development, as part of the expansion of modernity, and the need for protection of the local culture and traditions,which can be threatened by modern style of life…
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Some of the key changes that cities may experience in a de-growth society
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Download file to see previous pages In modern society, urban designers have to respond to two contradictory needs: the need for continuous development, as part of the expansion of modernity, and the need for protection of the local culture and traditions,which can be threatened by modern style of life.On the other hand, the development, as a reflection of the technological and social progress, cannot be prohibited or delayed; but, every such effort need to be carefully monitored in order to avoid social turbulences and conflicts (Albrow 1997). Cities have been traditionally used in order to show the technological potentials of a particular society; moreover, it is through the cities that the local culture and traditions are promoted, as a reflection of the integration of the local society. Under the influence of a de-growth trend, cities could be transformed; this transformation would involve, mostly, in the limitation/ alteration of technology used in daily social activities. However, the independency of cities from modern technological systems and trends could have certain implications. In any case, it seems that such effort would result to significant social and, even, economic benefits, either in the short or the long term. The causes and the aspects of the transformation of cities in the context of a de-growth social process can be understood by referring to examples of cities which have already entered such plans. Primarily, a reference to the patterns and the trends of urbanization, would be necessary in order to understand the phases and the needs of the specific process. The principles and the rules of urban design have been often criticized as of their appropriateness; the argument that the increased growth of cities has led to the deterioration of the quality of life of the local population is quite common. However, opposite views have been also presented, supporting the continuous development of cities as a way for keeping the economic and technological status – which are reflected in the urban design but also the style of life of local population; in other words, the transformation of cities following the principles of the de-growth society may face delays under the fear that the image of the city – even of the country – as an important social, economic and technological centre will be destroyed. The specific view is aligned with that of Park et al. (1984) who noted that the growth of cities could support the growth of the whole society – the example of the growth of USA as supported by the growth of its cities is provided for justifying the above view (Park et al. 1984). The above fact is also highlighted in the study of Pacione (2005) where reference is made to the role of cities in the progress of civilization. It is not made clear thought whether the involvement of cities in the development of civilization was appropriately designed and monitored; at the same time, no reference is made on the potential existence of individual interests – i.e. not just of public interests – in urban design. At this point, the following issue should be highlighted: the full implementation of the rules of de-growth, as a social and economic trend, could result to the introduction of new patterns of civilization, i.e. societies would have to de-civilize in order to reach, afterwards, a human – friendly civilization (Fournier 2008). Such outcome would not be necessarily negative; rather, it could lead to the improvement of the quality of life for people of all social and economic classes. For this reason, the level at which the changes on cities in the context of de-growth are characterized as positive or not would be depended on the level at which the above perspective, i.e. the elimination of the elements of modern civilization and the introduction of new rules of civilization, would be welcomed. The benefits of de-growth, if fully developed, would be also ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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