Reclaiming the livable city

We live in a city that is learning lessons in the midst of the pandemic, mostly with a commercial interest, but still. We are being force to live outside. No more do we imagine marquees and outside seating as something experienced in sunnier climes. All over the city there is seating and outside shelter for everybody. The demand and shortage of bike parts as many more take to the two wheels to get around to avoid enclosed transport systems. We started to eat a bit better at home, went for more walks. People began to understand and practice mutual aid. We started to understand and value more the work our essential workers do.

For some home schooling, place based education was an option for kids and more time with the family. Many folk who didn’t before started to read books. There were shared on line collabourations with artists, musicians, story tellers, new podcast ideas sprung up and people generally started to get a bit more creative.

What also came into sharp contrast and concern was the plight of the vulnerable. Those who struggle with life, isolation and loneliness even before they had the added dynamic of a pandemic on top of their worries. There is no way we can draw a brush stroke across this and imaging we all go dancing down the road to a brighter future. But one thing for sure over the pandemic it has been harder to ignore the dilemmas of many in the city and the short comings of the present system in support them. What also has been highlighted is the priorities of city administrations in the back to business as usual in the further colonisation of our green space and the rush to throw up the steel and glass compounds for students and the penthouse toped luxury accommodation for who knows?

Rust never sleeps even during pandemics. And I hope we haven’t been either. Apart from the tragic loss of life, and our dependency on the legacy press that added to our strife. There was glimmers of hope and possibility for a cleaner atmosphere as the factories momentarily stopped chucking out their clouds of doom and the Dear Green Place let out its natural energy. We have working examples of renewal that even ordinary people have understood and witnessed. These experiences can be worked on to build wider understanding and help create the kind of solidarity that can deliver sustainable change, if we stop speaking truth to power for a minute and speak more to our communities in the work to reclaim liveable cities.