Who Dares Wins Urbanism

Casting one’s memory over the contemporary and historic ‘city’; which streets, carparks, buildings or neighborhoods were forged beyond or adjacent democratic methodologies? Is it more revealing to list which spaces were not?

Are the fires that destroy historic buildings that have been standing in the way of new developments an act of expedience? Is the ‘Big Society’ concept as proposed by the current coalition government in the United Kingdom a daring device to compel the poor to carry even more burdens for the rich? Is the city official that searches out a bribe daringly shaping the future city? Are the ongoing attempts to enclose the commons acts of opportunism? Are the first gates and fences that go up around a house, park or housing compound realpolitik in practice? Was the first claim to the concept of owning land and property a daring risk that just stuck; it’s promoted narrative and ritual over centuries forming our current reality?

Is the conception, production and management of ‘the city’ a consequence of those that have dared and won? Is ‘the city’ and our urban lives forged by the daring and those actively working to generate and take advantage? Taking the cue from UrbanFestival10 with its direct interventions into Zagreb’s ‘Old Town’, what are the possibilities that arise from no longer reacting, lamenting and researching but rather employing the philosophy, training and tactics that are represented in the motto ‘who dares wins’.

This Is Not A Gateway

TRENTON OLDFIELD has worked for over a decade in non-governmental organisations specialising in urban renewal, cultural and environmental programmes. He was Coordinator of the Thames Strategy – Kew to Chelsea, Strategic Project Manager at Cityside Regeneration, and a Community Development Worker in North Kensington. Alongside his formal work he has continued to explore questions about cities via personal projects, including installations in the public realm, film, guest editing and guest lecturing, and has been active on the boards of the Westway Development Trust, London Citizens and Subtext. Current projects include research for a book that unearths the socio-political history of fences/railings in London, part of an attempt to find a way beyond the existing conventions around ownership, specifically land ownership in the 21st century. Trenton Oldfield formally established the not-for-profit organisation This Is Not A Gateway with Deepa Naik in 2007.
DEEPA NAIK (1976, GB) has worked with Art for Change, public works and the Serpentine Gallery, while co-ordinating projects with Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths) including: De-Regulation (MuHKA 2006, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art 2007); A.C.A.D.E.M.Y: Learning from the Museum (Van Abbemuseum 2006); SUMMIT: non-aligned initiatives in education culture (Multitude e.V. 2007); and Eye Witness (Birkbeck School of Law 2008). She continues to explore a set of questions that have resulted from her interest in post-colonial theory, the intersection of cultural movements and legal systems, critical art practice and alternative pedagogies. In 2007, together with Trenton Oldfield, Deepa Naik formally established This Is Not A Gateway, a not-for-profit organisation that creates platforms for critical investigations into cities.