Vaarallisia ajatuksia – Dangerous Thoughts – that is something the guys at Demos like. Imagine year 2050 they say: most of the worlds population will live in “slums”; self-built cities. `This is our salvation!´ the men state. Wait a moment?
Wikicity is the city of voice. It’s the place of opportunity superior to the gold paved streets of another utopia, it is where opportunity is something you create together. It’s the place where man (hopefully woman, too…) can create his own surroundings. It is organised anarchy – extremely alluring. Dangerous? Risky? Naive? Optimist? Innovative? Hopeful? Progressive? Unpredictable? Brilliant? YES!
Look at what we have as an option: people more and more disengaged in decisions on their own lives, more and more distrustful of neighbours, more and more alone, embedded into a blanket of that everything in life is -so well organized-.
Roope Mokka of Demos Helsinki wrote an article on “Thinking Cities” for the Monocle alongside Alain de Botton, Richard Florida, Jonathan Raban, Ricky Burdett and Richard Alston. //aito
The idea of self-built cities is the greatest promise for urban development. The idea is that we open up the creation of cities in the same way we have opened the compiling of encyclopedias and online-media to allow anyone to contribute. It’s the same principle that many industries are using to open up their R&D, design and marketing processes to their customers and which also inspires “open source” software development. Co-creating cities is one of the few positive developments in a problem-ridden tidal wave of urbanisation in the 21st century. And it’s one that could make us happier.
The core issue is that cities no longer enable us to live out our dreams. We have changed, but the cities haven’t. They remain the final bastions of modernistic design where users are seen as the masses and individuals are an obstacle. Even suburbia (on the surface a tasteless, mundane, hypermarket-bound high-carbon lifestyle) offers more potential for self-expression. That is why we fleeing cities. To lure us back we need cities that give us a voice. We need to take democracy to the next level, where it recognises our individual needs and dreams.
Demos NOW, an urban think tank, has created the concept of City 2.0 (PDF) – an urban ecosystem of social innovation, governance and social risk funding. We want to turn the Helsinki Metropolitan Area into a self-built city; a hi-tech low-carbon “slum” with an unforeseen and unpredictable quality of life. A Wikicity.