Farmers look at police from inside a monastery that they are using as a protest camp in Monywa township Sept. 12. Students have joined farmers and other people who have been protesting the seizure of land for a copper mining project in northwestern Myanmar jointly owned by the military and a Chinese company.
The protest in Monywa in Sagaing region has been continuing since August, but expanded this week in response to the detention of its leaders, activists said Wednesday. The primary issue concerns the confiscation of nearly 3,250 hectares of land for the Monywa copper mine project, an area which includes 26 villages and several mountains.
Emboldened by Myanmar’s changing political climate, farmers, villagers, factory workers and others are now staging demonstrations in various parts of the country over issues ranging from land confiscation to electricity cuts.
[Credit : Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters]
“Europe’s Cities: Gentrification or Ghettoization?
By Harvey Morris.
ONDON — The widening gap between haves and have-nots in debt-saddled Europe has sharpened a debate over whether the accelerating gentrification of its major cities is leading to the ghettoization of their urban poor.
The rioting in housing projects in the northern French city of Amiens this month marked a recurring phenomenon in France, after decades of planning policy consigned the urban working classes to suburban “banlieues” where poverty and unemployment are now rampant.
In Berlin, a magnet for an international set of affluent hipsters and artists since the Wall came down in 1989, locals are opposing a plan to demolish Communist-era apartment blocks in a prime city center location and replace them with upscale homes and shops.
And in Britain, a proposal to sell municipally-owned homes in expensive neighborhoods, and move their low-income tenants elsewhere, prompted accusations this week that it would drive disadvantaged families into ghettos.
The gentrification debate is not confined to Europe. Neither is it new. Spike Lee, the American director, touches on the theme in “Red Hook Summer,” his latest Brooklyn movie. And social commentators have been debating the pros and cons since young professionals began revamping the urban landscape by regenerating old properties in previously working class neighborhoods.
The Observer last weekend revived an article from 1977 that reported tensions between older working class residents and middle class newcomers in the north London district of Islington.
“Like many a colonialist before them, the gentrifiers are convinced that their arrival has brought light into a dark place,” the article stated, before quoting a local doctor as saying: “You couldn’t even get a decent Camembert when I first came here.”
As factories and wholesale markets closed down in the centers of many of Europe’s cities, Paris became the archetype of the post-industrial European capital.
In a process of what the French call “embourgeoisement,” old districts were revamped as the working classes and poor immigrants were moved to vast developments on the outskirts.
In an essay last year, Hervé Marchal and Jean-Marc Stébé wrote: “Central Paris, which has attracted more and more of the mobile elite, has been completely gentrified, with rocketing housing prices driving the low to middle classes ever further out.”
Contrary to a perception among Londoners that their city remains more vibrant, thanks to a social mix that Paris may have lost, the French authors added: “The center of London is similarly totally gentrified. The British capital’s integration into the global economy has created profound changes on the human level.”
Via: The NY Times
Photo: The aftermath of rioting in the French city of Amiens pictured on August 14. Guillaume Clement/European Pressphoto Agency
With all of these pictures of the Olympics floating around, it begs the question, what kind of shape are former Olympic cities in?
Jamie McGregor Smith explored the ruins of Athen’s 2004 Olympic development, discovering beauty in a desolate place.
via The NY Times