Chair: Anoma Pieris (University of Melbourne)
Discussant: Kim Dovey (Informal Urbanism Research Hub)
Jeff Hou (University of Washington)
Amanda Achmadi (University of Melbourne)
Sidh Sintusingha (University of Melbourne)
Jayde Roberts (University of New South Wales)
Redento Recio (University of Melbourne)
The closure of public spaces due to the COVID 19 outbreak has seen a surfeit of governmentality across Asia, disenfranchising migrant and homeless populations while provoking unanticipated solidarities across class lines. Informal spatial networks, both virtual and real, have reinvigorated the ad hoc supply chains that were being supplanted by shopping centres and malls. Measuring the strong-arm tactics of authoritarian regimes against the prevarication of democracies, many citizens are questioning the virtue of civic freedoms. New forms of vigilantism and tactics of evasion are being devised. Shortcomings in health care provisions, labour exploitation and urban poverty are also harshly exposed.
This roundtable invites participants to examine the costs of Lock Down and social distancing to our conception of a dynamic and open urban public sphere. It asks you to explore the tensions it creates between governmentality and informality and to discuss what is at stake for the restoration of civil society after the COVID crisis. How might we rethink the right to the city so fundamental to individual and collective freedoms and the impact on those freedoms when that city can no longer sustain them.