Al Jazeera ~ Riaan Hendricks ~ Working On Water

LagosJazeeraNigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi is pioneering floating buildings to solve the issues of flooding and land occupation that affect hundreds of thousands in African coastal cities, including the 85,000 residents of the Makoko slum in Nigeria’s capital Lagos.

Adeyemi envisages a city of floating buildings that, safe from rising tides, would allow the slum’s residents to remain within their community, while at the same time improving the quality of their lives.
His studio has come up with an easy-to-build, low-cost sustainable prototype for a floating building, one of which is already being coveted by an overcrowded local school.

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Meet Alfredo Brillembourg Of Urban-Think Tank

Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg

Meet Alfredo Brillembourg, a Venezuelan architect  and founder of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) , a company described as “.. an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism.”.  The U-TT operates with offices in Caracas, São Paulo, New York, and Zürich – its positioned to serve clients and work on projects all over the world.

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John Jansen van Galen ~ Afscheid van de koloniën. Het Nederlandse dekolonisatiebeleid 1942-2010

JansenvanGalenDekolonisatie is het tegenovergestelde van kolonisatie. Kolonisatie is de vestiging van mensen en/of kapitaal op vreemd, buitenlands grondgebied. Wanneer daar uitoefening van macht over dat gebied en zijn bevolking op volgt, is er sprake van kolonialisme. Dit is volgens Rupert Emerson ‘het vestigen en voor langere tijd handhaven van heerschappij over een vreemd volk dat gescheiden is van en ondergeschikt aan de overheersende macht’. (1) Of, in de omschrijving van Maarten Kuitenbrouwer, ‘het doelgerichte en daadwerkelijke streven naar de vestiging van formele of informele heerschappij over een andere samenleving’. (2) Heerschappij, het uitoefenen van macht, over een ander volk maakt in deze definities het wezen van kolonialisme uit. Paul Kennedy beschrijft het begrip aan de hand van een aantal andere kenmerken, maar de meeste daarvan zijn niet onderscheidend omdat ze ook buiten koloniale situaties voorkomen: het bestaan van een kleurbarrière, economische afhankelijkheid, geringe sociale zorg voor het volk, gebrek aan sociaal contact tussen overheersers en overheersten. (3) Een raciaal verschil tussen de betrokken volkeren, dat ook wel als kenmerk genoemd wordt, is evenmin wezenlijk voor kolonialisme: zo waren Canada, Australië en IJsland wel koloniën van respectievelijk Engeland en Denemarken, maar in hoofdzaak door blanken bevolkt. Alleen politieke ondergeschiktheid van een gebied en zijn bevolking aan een buitenlandse, overzeese mogendheid onderscheidt het kolonialisme van andere politieke systemen.

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Dutch Involvement In The Transatlantic Slave Trade And Abolition

the_dutch_in_the_atlantci_slave_trade_1600-1815On 1 July 1863, slavery was abolished in the former Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. This ended  a period of around 200 years of slavery in these colonies. To mark the 150th anniversary of Dutch abolition in 2013, various activities have been organized, including exhibitions in the National Library of the Netherlands, the History Museum of The Hague, and the University of Amsterdam.

To coincide with these commemorations and provide background information, the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centre Leiden has compiled the present web dossier on  Dutch involvement in the slave trade. It contains titles published in the past ten years, all of which are available in the ASC Library. Each title links directly to the corresponding record in the library’s online catalogue, which provides further bibliographic details and abstracts, loan information, and links to full text if available. The dossier concludes with links to a number of relevant web sites.

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Richard Florida ~ What A Creative Neighborhood Looks Like

NeighbourhoodInnovation and creativity are the basic engines of economic development in cities, regions and nations. But what makes some places more innovative than others? How do certain neighborhoods come to specialize in different types of creativity?

A new study published in the journal Regional Studies by my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) and University of Toronto colleague Greg Spencer takes a detailed look at the kinds of neighborhoods that are home to high-tech industries versus those that foster vibrant arts, cultural and music scenes. He focuses on Canada’s big three city-regions: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Spencer defines high-tech or “science-based” industries as spanning computer, software, pharmaceuticals and medicine, as well as research and development, while “creative” industries include film and video, music, radio and television, and design, as well as independent artists, writers and performers.

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Riding The Transitional Rollercoaster ~ The Shifting Relationship Between Civil Society And The Constitution In Post-Apartheid South Africa

SahaSouth Africa is fast approaching the 20th anniversary of the formal adoption of its Constitution. Not only does this provide an opportune moment to critically reflect on how this widely celebrated Constitution has shaped South Africa’s overall political, economic and social journey, but also on the path that the consequent relationship between the Constitution and civil society has travelled.

Casting our minds back to a time before the 1994 democratic breakthrough reminds us that the central political, social, economic and cultural edifice of the apartheid system in South Africa was built on the racialised foundation of a legally-framed, institutionalised violation of basic human rights. Indeed, the struggle against apartheid was, at its core, a struggle for the democratic reclamation of those human rights, whether civil-political or socio-economic. It was the popular strength and depth of this struggle that was primarily responsible for bringing an end to the apartheid system and ushering in a new democratic dispensation.

Within this historical setting then, it makes sense that one of the key requirements of a postapartheid South Africa would be to lay down a new foundation; a deracialised, legally-framed and institutionalised affirmation of basic human rights. The adoption in 1996 of South Africa’s new Constitution, containing a specific ‘Bill of Rights’ as well as the institutional architecture of a democratic system, represented the foundational layer of such an affirmation. The underlying rationale being that all the rights contained therein are, in and of themselves, basic human rights that are inherent, universal, inalienable and indivisible to every human being (in this case, as applied specifically to those living in South Africa).

Regardless of the historic and ongoing debates (some of which will be touched on later in this report) around whether South Africa’s Constitution and constitutional framework represent a legalinstitutional affirmation of basic human rights or alternatively, a well- constructed ‘mask’ that affirms and entrenches the social and economic status quo, the fact is that 20 years on the Constitution remains essential to any serious analysis and understanding of South Africa’s developmental journey. Central to that journey is the relationship between the Constitution and civil society.

It is within such a contextual frame that this report is located. Conceived as one component of a multi-faceted research and archival project through the South African History Archive (SAHA), the primary aim is to explore the changing relationship between civil society and the South African Constitution. The core material used derives from thirty-three interviews conducted with leaders of a range of civil society organisations (CSOs) as well as individual activists, academics and lawyers [see list of interviewees at end of document]. Taken together, the interviews cover the three main ‘sectors’ of civil society which this research targets – namely:
– legal / litigation;
– NGO / academic;
– community / union / activist.

The interviews have been complemented by desktop research on crucial constitutional rights cases that have come before the Constitutional Court as well as relevant academic, legal and activist materials written over the past two decades on civil society’s commentary on, outreach / advocacy about and interactions with, the Constitution.
Key issues informing this research are:
– The impact of the Constitution on the work of civil society;
– The changing attitudes of civil society towards, and levels of trust in, the Constitution;
– The extent to which the Constitution is accessible to civil society as a tool for transformation.

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The report is now available as a free download from the SAHA website, as are the transcripts of the interviews (now archived in SAHA Collection AL3287: The Constitution and Civil Society Project Collection.) You do have to be registered with the SAHA site to download publications and archival materials – one of the slight annoyances with being an organisation that has liberation struggle materials with complex copyright considerations as part of our archives (but it is quick and easy to register here, if you haven’t before – )

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