“Large-scale mining developments’ 7 capital sins” Documentary (in Spanish)

Federico Guzman documentary on megamining in Zacatecas, Mexico. See also his thesis book.


Megaprojects and community conflicts in A Corunha, Galicia, Spain

This article, in Galician language, addresses the history of rural neiborghood in the bounds of the city of A Corunha and how it has suffered from different megaprojects that threaten its mere existence. The article refrences a arquitect project led by Ergosfera, a group of architets and how they claim a greater attention to heritage beyond the “academic” concept in order to incorporate those things that really makes the difference in a given city.

“O grupo de arquitectos e arquitectas Ergosfera levaron a cabo unha investigación –Cousa de Elviña– sobre as orixes, o presente e o futuro do conflito entre os habitantes de Elviña e os desenvolvementos urbanísticos da cidade, tomando como base estas dúas vivendas e a súa contorna (A Pereiroa). O proxecto foi realizado no marco do programa Expontáneas da Concellaría de Cultura da Coruña, e é tamén unha exposición que xa se puido ver a semana pasada na sede do Concello, que está actualmente no local da Concellaría de Rexeneración Urbana e Dereito á Vivenda (no barrio de Montealto), e que entre o 18 e o 22 de xullo estará na sede coruñesa do Ministerio de Fomento.

A intervención urbana formulada ten quizais uns obxectivos pouco relevantes na súa materialización formal, pero moi ambiciosos en canto á fenda que tenta abrir: a introdución de dúbidas no pensamento institucional sobre o valor e a lexitimidade destas cousas urbanas sen importancia aparente”, destacan dende o colectivo…En toda cidade hai moitísimos núcleos de orixe preindustrial, e todos teñen enriba a ameaza do urbanismo. Hai que comezar a entender que o patrimonio non é só aquilo que os académicos digan, senón que o patrimonio é todo aquilo que implica unha diferenza na cidade. Nós non valoramos estas casas como un recordo do que foi o mundo rural, antigo, senón que as destacamos como un valor de futuro. Ti imaxina dentro de 50 anos, nunha Alfonso Molina convertida en avenida, a diferenza que establecerían estas casas en relación cos edificios modernos que as rodean. Debemos cambiar o concepto de patrimonio, para non defender só as cousas polo que foron, senón tamén polo que son”, subliña”



Four urban conditions of vibrant city life and reflection on megaprojects

Assuming the bellow showed Jacobs´ urban conditions of vibrant city life and that urban megraprojects tend to make urban spaces more homogenous due to the concentration of a particular service or user profile, do megaprojects kill vibrant city life in a long term?

Jacobs argues that vibrant activity can only flourish in cities when the physical environment is diverse. This diversity, she says, requires four conditions. The first is that city districts must serve more than two functions so that they attract people with different purposes at different times of the day and night. Second, city blocks must be small with dense intersections that give pedestrians many opportunities to interact.

The third condition is that buildings must be diverse in terms of age and form to support a mix of low-rent and high-rent tenants. By contrast, an area with exclusively new buildings can only attract businesses and tenants wealthy enough to support the cost of new building. Finally, a district must have a sufficient density of people and buildings.

Jacobs, J. (1961). The death and life of great American cities. Vintage.



Government and Community Reaction to Boomtown Growth theory

1) Enthusiasm as officials and residents concentrate on the positive economic impacts of job growth and retail spending that are espoused by energy industry spokespeople, while the possible negative impacts are either unknown or are dismissed as unlikely in their specific area; 2) Uncertainty, as the town starts to change as new workers arrive in
noticeable numbers. It is realized that some negative impacts have arrived along with the positive benefits, and that these negative impacts will likely grow. Officials begin to perform preliminary research; however, there are few resources or experienced staff to draw upon, while industry and state government claims there is nothing that can be done. Divisions emerge within the community as to whether the growth is detrimental or beneficial; 3) Near Panic, as the industrial activity and associated impacts grow much quicker than anticipated and the community character changes dramatically in the eyes of longer-term residents who become confused and angry at local officials and each other. Government services are overwhelmed and quality of services declines while officials realize that any increase in revenues will not offset the expenditures in the near future or at all. Government officials find that they are ill-equipped, unprepared or do not have jurisdiction to make the necessary policy decisions while longer term residents feel new
government polices are an affront to the community’s historic way of life; and 4) Adaptation, as the core problems are eventually identified and planning/mitigation strategies are developed. Residents become solidified in their beliefs; however, they begin to accept the reality of the situation at hand. Residents and officials feel a sense of progress.

Freudenburg, W. 1981 “Women and Men in an Energy Boomtown: Adjustment, Alienation, Adaptation” Rural Sciology 46:2:220-244


Limits of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects

The allegued Bilbao Miracle and Its Discontents” by Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría (The Cooper Union) and part of the book: Megaprojects: A Worldwide View (Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 13) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.27 – 59.

See abstract:

This chapter outlines and explains the development of the Abandoibarra megaproject, focusing in particular on the key role of the Bilbao Ría 2000 – an innovative cross institution, public–private partnership, responsible for coordinating the transfer of land between public and private agents. The chapter critically assesses the impact of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the centerpiece in the Abandoibarra scheme. The narrative is based on fieldwork conducted by the author in the city of Bilbao. The chapter utilizes scholarly research, official sources, and reports in the news media to support the arguments. The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard. The motivations of the Basque political elite to attract a Guggenheim museum go beyond the potential (and we might add, limited) urban regeneration benefits of a building, and can only be understood within the political context of the Basque Country and its relations with Spain. The case of Bilbao’s revitalization has attracted significant attention as of late. This chapter uncovers the key issues surrounding Bilbao’s transformation and puts the process in the context of capitalist globalization and the formation of globalizing cities.

I would like to emphasize the bellow sentence, here the author warn that urban megraprojects in worldwide center might not be succesful in peripherial and different context in terms of revitalization:

The chapter questions the viability of revitalization schemes based on urban megaprojects. Applying some of the elements in the revitalization mix to most cities may be unavoidable due to rapid and acritical adoption of policy discourses from center to periphery, but expecting to replicate one city’s success in another context may prove extremely hard.

Professor Leslie Sklair: Key researcher in Global Studies

Leslie Sklair is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at LSE. He received his PhD from LSE, and his thesis, Sociology of Progress, was published by Routledge in 1970 and was then translated into German. In 1973 he published Organized Knowledge: Sociological View of Science and Technology (which was translated into Spanish). In the 1980s he carried out field research on the developmental impacts of foreign investment in Ireland, Egypt and (more intensively) China and Mexico. He published Assembling for Development: the Maquila Industry in Mexico and the United States in 1989, with a second updated edition in 1993. These works provided the material basis for Sociology of the Global System (published 1991, second updated edition in 1995, translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Persian and Korean). A third edition completely revised and updated, of this book, Globalization: capitalism and its alternatives, was published by OUP in 2002, and Portuguese, Arabic and Chinese translations are forthcoming. His book The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) is now in Chinese.

Professor Sklair was a consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations in New York (1987-88); the ILO in Geneva (1993); the US Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1991); and the UN Economic Commission on Latin America in Mexico City (1992). He was a Visiting Research Fellow: at the Center for US-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego (1986-87; 1990); the Centre of Asian Studies, Hong Kong University (1994); and the School of Sociology, University of New South Wales, Sydney (1995). In addition, he held Visiting Professorships at the Department of Sociology in New York University (Spring 1993); and University of Hong Kong (1994). New School University in New York (2002) , University of Southern California (2004) and Strathclyde University (2005-2008). He has lectured at universities and at conferences in the UK, Europe, North, Central and South America, Egypt, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia and Jamaica.

Professor Sklair is currently the President of the Global Studies Association and also on the International Advisory Board of the ESRC funded major project ‘Cities in Conflict,’ based at Cambridge University.

Professor Sklair’s current research project, “Iconic architecture and capitalist globalization”, builds on his previous work on “Globalization and the FORTUNE Global 500”, which was partly based on interviews with major corporations around the world within a theoretical framework that recasts the relationship between global capitalism, classes, consumerism and the state. The architecture project focuses on how the transnational capitalist class uses iconic architecture.

Source: London School of Economics

ourouHe is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Review of International Political Economy, Social Forces, and Global Networks, and served as Vice-president (Sociology) of the Global Studies Association.

O Ave a Madrid tamén perxudica a Madrid

Alén de empobrecer e despoboar a periferia, o modelo radial tende a crear un centro (véxase Madrid, París ou Londres) densamente poboado, suburbanizado e pouco integrador (o que podería derivar en falta de integración de colectivos en risco de exclusión social, véxase revoltas en París e Londres). É dicir, en realidade tampouco beneficia ao centro, só as grandes construtoras e determinadas élites, favorecendo así unha cada vez maior desiguadade social de base espacial. O problema é máis complexo e ten a ver co actual modelo de desenvolvemento capitalista.