Revised Blog Posts

This Is Not a Slum 
Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava“ This is Not a Slum: What the World Can Learn From Dharavi” interrogates our current definition of a functioning city and argues that Dharavi,a so called “slum”,should be acknowledged as one.  The city of Dharavi is what Echanove and Srivastava refer to as a “homegrown neighbourhood”,which expands and functions through the sheer power of its inhabitants, without the oversight of a centralized government. The authors argue that this absence of governmental control is one of Dharavi’s greatest strengths, as it allows its inhabitants to adapt the city to their needs, not the other way around. Specifically, the authors cite the manner which Dharavi citizens uses their homes as tiny factories, shops, and hostels” a quality which makes the city “enormously productive” (20). Productive enough to garner “(roughly) $500 million exports” per year, as well as a thriving tourist industry (Echanove, 20).  In this manner, the inhabitants of Dharavi adapt the city to their way of life in order to carve out a home in Dharavi. Additionally Dharavi provides opportunities for low income families which don’t exist in traditional cities, especially in the form of housing. Citing Dharavi’s productivity and independence the authors argue that Dharavi should be referred to as a slum, and outline the negative consequences of doing so. Namely, the term “evokes backwardness” and “reinforces narratives that call for affordable and inclusive housing but are really moves toward real estate expansion” (21). IN SUM, Echanove and Srivastava redefine the definition of a city and advocate against the usage of “slum”.

You Can’t Park Here
Clive Thompson’s article “You can’t Park Here” (2016) details the problems caused by our current model of parking and advocates self driving cars as the solution. Specifically, Thompson believes that on al fronts that parking is flawed, stating that “environmentally, aesthetically, and economically, parking is a mess(1).   On the environmental front, Thompson describes the immense figures of CO2 which is released directly from the model of parking. Namely, how, ironically, we suffer from a shortage and excess of parking. As a result, the practice of “cruising” which is looking for parking spots is promoted. Thompson states that cruising is far from harmful as it “burns 47,000 gallons of gas and generates 730 tons of carbon dioxide a year”(1). Additionally, Thompson discusses the economic problems which compound due to the current model of parking. Not only is parking expensive to build and maintain, but f
ree parking spaces” come with a cost, which is passed down to tenants and pads the prince of rent. In order to solve the complications caused by the current parking model, Thompson argues that we target the problem at its root : abandon our need for parking. Thompson asserts that this could be done through the implementation of self driving cars, which would allow our seemingly contradictory need for parking and sustainable cities to coexist. The author cites numerous potential benefits which self-driving cars could bring, for example, they would cut down emissions as they could replace “up to 12 cars” and would reduce the practice of “cruising” to find a parking spot. Additionally, the implementation of self-driving cars would destroy much of the demand for parking. Thompson argues against the current model of parking and argues that replacement of traditional cars with self-driving cars would only benefit our cities.

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