donderdag 8 september 2011

Authenticity as a social right

Sharon Zukin's view on authenticity is a real eye-opener.

Origins” refers not to which group settled in a neighborhood earliest. Instead, it suggests a moral right to inhabit a space, not just to consume it as an experience. Authenticity in this sense in not a stage set of historical buildings as in SoHo or a performance of bright lights as at Times Square; it’s a continuous process of living and working, a gradual buildup of everyday experience, the expectation that neighbors and buildings that are here today will be here tomorrow.
A city loses its soul when this continuity is broken.

The major difference between Moses’ time and ours lies in a shift from the ideal of the modern city to that of the authentic city. To the extent that the city planning commissioners honor Jane Jacobs’s vision, they say, “if you allow the character of a neighborhood to be eroded, the people who live in a neighborhood will leave the city.” Whose character, though, is most authentic? If authenticity is a state of mind, it’s historic, local, and cool. But if authenticity is a social right, it’s also poor, ethnic, and democratic. Authenticity speaks for the right of the city, and a neighborhood, to offer residents, workers, store owners, and street vendors the opportunity to put down roots – to represent, paradoxically, both origins and new beginnings.

 source: Naked City, the death and life of authentic urban places - S. Zukin 

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