The European Venue for Green Ideas

Talk of the Town: Exploring the City in Europe

‘Talk of the Town’ focuses on cities and their significance across Europe and beyond, both as the site of key transformations and new dynamics, but also as political actors in their own right.

Hailed as the new political centre and the battleground of our times, the role of cities today, across Europe and beyond, seems to have reached unprecedented significance. The dynamics of urbanisation, deindustrialisation, and globalisation are central in the transformations our cities are undergoing today. At the local level, campaigns and policies around urban planning, mobility, public services, and green spaces also have a defining impact. The gulf between rural and urban life, the critical threat of climate change, as well as the potential offered by European and international networks and alliances between cities, are also refashioning our conception of cities and their political agency. Constantly changing and adapting, the city seems to be universally distinguished by its vibrant, mercurial nature. In this edition, the Green European Journal contends that this open-endedness presents both a challenge and an opportunity to harness the city’s energy, and direct it towards a more human, just, and sustainable course.

This edition is dedicated to Erica Meijers, one of the founders of the Green European Journal and a member of its editorial board, and to Beatrice White, its deputy editor-in-chief, both of whom are moving on in 2017. The Journal thanks them for their endless support and wishes them all the best in their new life adventures.

Articles in this edition

25.11.2017
The Call of the City

The editor-in-chief introduces the 16th thematic edition ‘Talk of the Town’ and its foray into the political dynamics and struggles of the city in Europe and beyond.

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25.11.2017
The City as the New Political Centre

Barcelona leads the way in reviving democracy and participation of citizens. Joan Subirats talks about how cities can shape a better governance architecture and complement the current system centred on nation-states.

EN
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25.11.2017
Gathering Storms: Forecasting the Future of Cities

Pablo Servigne outlines four vivid scenarios for what our cities could look like depending on which actions we could take now.

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25.11.2017
Speaking to Both Sides: Can a Green Message Resonate in Town and Country?

Silvia Nossek, the chairperson of one of Vienna's districts, talks about the Green approach to local politics and about countryside versus city.

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25.11.2017
A Tale of Two Finlands

The Greens are successfully wooing urban voters in Finland, but the rural areas tell a drastically different story. Why the stark contrast?

EN
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25.11.2017
Climate for Change: Why Local Politics Stretches Beyond City Limits

Berlin is pioneering innovative and sustainable schemes – Georg Kössler, member of its parliament, talks about how Greens got there and their wider impact.

EN
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25.11.2017
‘Ugly Bruxy’ or Bruxelles ‘Re-belle’?

Brussels can teach us a lot about city politics and urban planning. Today, citizen movements and progressive forces, including Green parties, are changing the city.

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25.11.2017
Taking on City Hall: The Challenges of Greening Prague

Greens in Prague must contend with developers and the region's ambivalent history to push for a sustainable vision of the city, from transport to construction.

EN
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25.11.2017
Tackling Climate Change: A Job for Cities

Could global cooperation between cities, with mayors from all corners of the globe, be THE key to tackling climate change? We spoke to the mayors of Paris and San Francisco.

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25.11.2017
The Order of Barcelona: Cities Without Fear

In Europe and beyond, municipalism, rooted in republicanism and enshrined in an ‘Order of Barcelona’ could help fight the ‘inertia of the nation-state’.

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25.11.2017
The City Taking the Commons to Heart

Ghent is the first city in the world to enjoy a commons expert to enshrine cooperation and communal ownership into its very structures.

EN
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25.11.2017
Can Cities and Citizens Reinvent Public Services?

Going far beyond a simple reversal of privatisation, the remunicipalisation of public services is gathering pace across Europe's cities and towns.

EN
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25.11.2017
Big Fish, Little Fish: The Struggles of Poland’s Small Towns

Staggering inequality marks Poland's small towns from its big cities - but some towns are demonstrating trailblazing innovative and transformative solutions.

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25.11.2017
Guardians of the Property: Pop-up Housing for Pop-up People

A new housing phenomenon is spreading across Europe's cities - is it a Bohemian, win-win solution or does it exemplify the entrenchment of precarity into new spheres?

EN
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25.11.2017
Whose City is it Anyway? Reflections on Global Urban Dynamics

Sociologist Saskia Sassen talks about the role of cities in globalisation, and how citizens can reclaim the rapidly dwindling urban space.

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25.11.2017
The ‘Guggenheim Effect’: Pride and Prejudices

Few cities have succeeded in recreating the success of Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum. What was its secret & what can this tell us about urban dynamics?

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25.11.2017
The City as a Battleground

From centres of economic activity to amusement parks for tourists, what is happening to our cities and what space is left for their citizens?

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