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Start Saskia Sassen: “City Is Recovering Urban Capability”
22 June 2012

Saskia Sassen: “City Is Recovering Urban Capability”

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For Saskia Sassen, Lynd professor of Sociology from Columbia University, the city is today an area of enormous conflicts. Some of them are visible, as for example the way police treat minorities or the possibility to stage a demonstration easily. But on the other hand there are invisible conflicts, for example those people who have been evicted from their homes in United States.

One of the questions that she asks herself is if the urban space has the capability to transform these conflicts into the civic realm: “I consider that historically the city has been able to do that, so now it could be occurred again. This is what I like to call “urban capability”: an urban capability to transform conflicts where there are people and there is space; it is a kind of mixture”

For Saskia one example of urban capability is when the claims of “excluded” have been transformed into rights and there is been an expansion throughout all civic fabric, including those included people: “today the urban space is severely threatened but thanks to movements such as the “outraged”, it is recovering its capability to transform conflicts into mobilisation, making visible them through re-coding of old symbols: military superiority for example”


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