Intergroup Monopoly, game to explore the dynamics of group-based inequality

Intergroup Monopoly (created by Richard Harvey, shared by Vanessa Woods) Intergroup Monopoly is an action teaching game that modifies the classic Monopoly board game to explore the dynamics of group-based inequality. In Intergroup Monopoly, players begin with unequal amounts of money and are given individualized rules that reflect differing degrees of privilege or disadvantage. For example, a privileged player might receive $350 rather than the standard $200 for passing Go, whereas a disadvantaged player might be permitted to move only half the amount rolled on each turn. During this initial phase of the game, disadvantaged players quite often fall into substantial debt. In a second phase, “equal opportunity” is implemented and all players are permitted to play by normal Monopoly rules. What the players typically discover, however, is that even under conditions of equality, formerly disadvantaged players continue to decline and struggle with debt. This discovery leads to a classroom discussion about how to effectively address the enduring effects of prior group-based disadvantages.

Further instructions https://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/intergroup-monopoly-woods.pdf

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Thoughts about how urban design impact our lifes

Just read this article and found so interesting ideas on how urban design impact society and what can be done to avoid increasing inequality. Here I just noted some additional thoughts. I am also thinking of how does it work in a wider scale, for instance, how regional infraestructures reinforce certain inequalities. The same with regard to environmental restoration projects.

Bearing how people socially construct space in the urban planning process:

“There is a need to redesign the designers, and to give them the tools and competencies to work within social constructs and spatial contexts that they are meant to serve. Designers spend much of their academic and professional training to build the spatial, technical, communication, and critical-thinking skills that are needed to do the difficult work of transforming spaces and places. They use their skills, often with good intentions and ‘best practices,’ toward results that may not align with what is needed or wanted in a given context.

Public space is something more than a good design, it is also about having social meaning

“Public spaces alone will not create the vitality and empathy we seek in and from our cities. Universally designing for everyone can create homogenized, soulless places that have all people in mind but have meaning or use for no one.”

Not only interdisciplinarity is needed in urban design but also public and socially diverse participation

“Projects in the public realm need to be informed not only from more disciplines but from more kinds of people. Artists, misfits, outsiders, elders, immigrants, people of color, and women have been leading community development efforts in unconventional ways, partly because they have not been invited to the table and also because their varied lived experiences offers something more or counter to the standard advanced for our civic commons, parks, plazas, and other urban public assets.

“The space between who is considered an expert and who is typically on the margins of conversations about public space needs to be collapsed. If that happens I think cities will feel, function, and be designed with multiple points of view, engendering spaces that promote social mixing and most importantly social equity.

 

Places to reinforce social capital, to make people come together to have open conversations

“For example, there are so many more private pools than there are public pools. There’s also the inability for us to maintain branch libraries, which are really community centers for a lot of neighborhoods. We need places that people come together to have open conversation about current issues. Immigrant communities are interesting to look at because this welcome-unwelcome feeling is very inherent to their experience in their city. It has nothing to do with design, necessarily, but design can reinforce that invitation.”

Interpretando la estratificación social en una ciudad post-socialista

La ciudad neo-liberal tiende a desarrollar con gran ímpetu comunidades aisladas que reflejan las diferencias entre las clases sociales, segregándolas entre si y limitando enormemente los espacios y paisajes. Dicha tendencia responde al principio de acumulación del capital aplicado al desarrollo urbano. Es decir, a la acumulación de capital en las ciudades con el fin de producir dinero. Dicha acumulación tiene lugar mediante la inversión en espacios urbanos, la construcción de condominios y de estructuras de gran escala con un especial interés en los estratos socioeconómicos altos. En este contexto la inversión en viviendas asequibles se reduce y/o se limita a las zonas más alejadas de los centros urbanos, incidiendo más aún en la dinámica segregadora. En definitiva, la concentración de capital es una barrera para el desarrollo urbano y se opone a lo que debería ser una ciudad.

Estas y otras ideas las he extraído de una reciente entrevista a David Harvey. La segregación espacial vendría ademas acompañada por una especie de proteccionismo o aislamiento de los bloques de nueva construcción. Así lo sugiere David Harvey al referirse en un barrio de Chile:

…hace poco estuve en Guayaquil, Ecuador. Ahí hay un área de la ciudad donde, a los costados de un gran camino principal, solo existen comunidades privadas. No puedes salir del camino principal para entrar a esas comunidades sin un permiso residencial. Entonces te preguntas qué tipo de mundo se construye allí, en que la experiencia urbana de las personas queda secuestrada tras estos muros, tienen un contacto casi nulo con personas de otras clases sociales.

Todo esto me ha recordado una serie de fotos que realicé hace no mucho en mi propio barrio de residencia. La foto que encabeza este post muestra el barrio de Dabrowa en Gdynia, ciudad que junto Gdansk y Sopot componen el área metropolitana conocida como Trojmiasto, en el norte de Polonia. Se trata de un barrio más o menos compacto que ha ido creciendo principalmente desde los años 90. En concreto, el edificio que se aprecia está situado justo en el que puede ser considerada como la plaza del barrio, justo al lado del parque infantil, el colegio y diversas tiendas. Por lo tanto, su diseño “amurallado” representa una especie de isla dentro del centro neurálgico del barrio. Queda claro, por tanto, como el desarrollo urbano de una ciudad post-socialista se aproxima en gran medida a la forma de experimentar la ciudad en buena parte de las ciudades hoy en día. Toda una forma de, utilizando las palabras de Harvey “secuestrar la experiencia urbana de las personas tras los muros”. Esto, sin duda, podría incidir en una menor cohesión social y menores reservas de capital social. (Para los más economicistas, recordad que existe una relación entre capital social y desarrollo económico)

Me gustaría además prestar especial atención a la siguiente foto, pues en ella se puede apreciar más de 60 años de evolución urbanística en Polonia. En el plano corto, una casa típica del rural polaco donde, de hecho, todavía reside una persona de edad avanzada y dedicado a labores agrícolas. En un segundo plano, una construcción de los años 90, pero que mantiene de alguna forma el estilo de los típicos bloques soviéticos. Por último, un edificio de muy reciente creación donde, como se puede observar, se levanta una verja que lo separa del resto del barrio.

My new blog background #manila #philippines

What you can see here is a photo taken in Manila (Philippines). Concretly, the buildings in the background are the so called Makati city, if I remember correctly. Why I’ve chosen this photo for my blog background? Well, for three reasons.

  1. First, it reflects in a single view my research interests, i.e. rapid growth, urban development, inequality, residential segregation, among others, also environment and climate change in the Global South ( the river waters (here isn’t entirely appreciable) are very contaminated)
  2. Second, because it was me who took this picture during my work experience in 2009. I indeed keep very good memories from that trip. I hope one day upload more pictures.
  3. Third, because I’ve noticed a blog hits growth from Philippines, becoming actually the fifth most frequent visitors.

Manila_@socioloxia
Xaquín S. Pérez-Sindín López @socioloxia

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