The Fight for the Future
The future is a contested terrain. Since mid 18th Century the future is imagined as happening on earth and not in the afterlife. Since then, the future belongs to whoever has the power to legitimate his or her voice.
At the turn of this second millennium, for most, the future appeared as a horizon of menace, and continuous to be so.
Cities have been the sites of increasing conflict, between competing expectations: a future for many or a future for a few; taking care of the planet or exploiting it resources and upsetting its fragile balance.
These struggles about what future we are fighting for are crucial for our survival. We need to encourage the empowerment of the voices as yet unheard.
If we fail to do so, the future will continue to be only the property of the few.
Discussions about the future are not useless or a waste of time. As Ernst Bloch, the German philosopher said, a society without a horizon of expectations is not, and will never be, truly alive.
Note: This text was presented in a public event at the New School, celebrating the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs at 15 and a tribute to its founding director Michael Cohen, on December 4, 2015.
Margarita Gutman is an urban historian and architect with appointments at the New School for Public Engagement and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from where she had obtained her doctorate. Among her many books are: Buenos Aires: El Poder de la Anticipacion – Imagenes Itinerantes del futuro metropolitano en torno al Centenario (2011), Bicentenarios en Acción, Conmemoración y Mobilización Política en América Latina (edited with Ileana Versace, 2016), Construir Bicentenarios Latinoamericanos en la era de la globalizacion (edited with Rita Molinos, 2012), Latin America on the Move: The Post Neo-liberal Transition (with with Michael Cohen, 2007), Buenos Aires 2050: imágenes del futuro / decisiones del presente (edited with Horacio Caride 2007), Construir Bicentenarios: Argentina (editor, 2005), Buenos Aires Historia Urbana del Área Metropolitana 1536 -2006 (with Jorge Enrique Hardoy, 1992 and 2007), and Buenos Aires 1910: Memoria del Porvenir (editor, 1999).
Banner Image: Photos by Martin Gromez.
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