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Raquel Rolnik Lecture at CCCB: Cities in the Hands of Global Finance

Lecture by Raquel Rolnik presented by Joan Subirats

Is the advance of global finances in the cities a threat to democracy? Raquel Rolnik, chair professor of the University of São Paulo and ex-secretary of Urban Programmes of the first government of Lula da Silva in Brazil, analyses the transformation of cities in the age of financial capitalism and considers why fundamental political values such as dissent and heterogeneity are being left outside the urban space. The lecture is presented by Joan Subirats, chair professor of Political Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

Cities and territories all over the world are increasingly colonized by the empire of global finance, and in this takeover of urban policy by finance, technologies such as big data and the concept of smart cities have a central role. The effects are not only economic and cultural, shaping new spaces and new ways of living in them, but mostly political, defining a post political era in each there is no space for dissention and heterogeneity.

Raquel Rolnik professor, architect and urban planner, with over 35 years of scholarship, activism and practical experience in planning, urban land policy and housing issues. She holds a professorial chair in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo and is the author of several books and articles on urban and housing issues. In her career, she has held various government positions including Director of the Planning Department of São Paulo (1989-1992) and National Secretary for Urban Programs of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003-2007), and has worked for NGOs, for example, as the Urban Policy Coordinator of the Polis Institute (1997-2002). From May 2008, Raquel Rolnik was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for a six-year mandate, ending in June 2014. She is the author of many books, including “Guerra dos Lugares: A colonização da terra e da moradia na era das finanças” and “A citade e a lei” which focuses on the analysis of zoning law in São Paulo.

Joan Subirats (Barcelona, 1951), Professor of Political Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), specialises in public policy and social exclusion and also democratic management and innovation. He was director of the Institute of Government and Public Policy at UAB and has been a visiting professor at the universities of Rome-La Sapienza, Berkeley and Georgetown.

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