Season 2 of Cities After... began in January 2022.
Now also available as video podcast!
December 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 19)
This episode of Cities After… is a conversation between Prof. Robles-Durán and Silvia Federici, feminist activist and scholar, which took place at the New School in New York City. Silvia Federici has been shaking Marxist traditions to their core since the 1960s by posing critical questions about the role of women’s reproductive labor in the development of our human environment and social conditions under capitalism. In this conversation, Robles-Durán and Federici weave through Federici’s life and work in Italy, the US, Nigeria, and Latin America to explore major themes of feminism, class struggle, reproductive labor, colonialism, neoliberalism, and more. Federici’s work is concerned largely with the power of communal spaces and land, welfare rights, reproductive rights and the role of women in social movements, collective memory, and the right to the city.
November 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 18)
In this fourth and final episode of the Cities After… Office Spaces as Home mini-series, Prof. Robles-Durán talks to Cea Weaver, a prominent housing organizer in New York City who coordinates Housing Justice for All. In 2019, Weaver coordinated a statewide coalition to pass what many consider the most progressive housing laws in recent decades. She is currently working with the City Planning Commission to figure out what to do with vacant office towers and how to facilitate their conversion into affordable housing. Robles-Durán and Weaver speak about Housing Justice for All and what they’re working to achieve, New York’s importance in the history of rent control and tenant organizing, the homelessness crisis, and some of the specific policies and programs Cea is working on implementing.
November 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 17)
This is part three of the Cities After…Office Spaces as Homes series. In the last podcast, Prof. Robles-Durán pictured a dystopian future where waged labor takes over the household and unfolded a seemingly despairing critique of the post-covid exploitative tendencies in hybrid work and work from home. To contrast, this episode explores the resignification of utopia and the radical imaginaries that could emerge from reconstructing what work-from-home can be.
October 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 16)
In Pt. 2 of the Cities After…Office Spaces as Homes series, Prof. Robles-Durán discusses the impacts of the hybrid work and work from home models which have exploded as a result of the pandemic. These seemingly unstoppable trends have rattled municipalities worldwide with never-seen office space vacancy rates (above 90% in some business districts) while record homelessness and the urgent demand for more affordable housing skyrockets. Robles-Duran theorizes about some of the capitalist dynamics at play here, dystopian consequences, and possible contradictory outcomes.
October 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 15)
This episode of Cities After… is the first of a two-part series in which Prof. Robles-Durán will explore a post-covid urbanization trend taunting real estate developers and municipal governments across the globe: the adaptive reuse of vacant office spaces into homes. As businesses struggle to lure employees into the full-time occupation of their corporate cubicles and housing prices continue to rise, some champion the rezoning and transformation of office space into residential property as a win-win scenario for cities, while others forewarn the trend as a fiscal and economic catastrophe in the making. Robles-Durán takes a different stance on these positions in this two-part series, first, by unfolding a brief history of a few influential urban ideas from the end of the industrial revolution to the present—particularly functionalist and modernist principles—and, second, by discussing the effects and socio-spatial consequences of these trends.
September 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 14)
Concurrent to the very important contributions of early Marxist eco-feminists in the 1960s and 1970s, Prof. David Harvey was amongst the first intellectuals that began to read in Marx a complex critique of capitalism's destructive metabolic relation to nature, a topic that has been constant in his writings from 1970 until today. In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with Prof. David Harvey on his current views about nature in his writings, the dialectical contradictions he sees in capitalism's response to the climate crisis, and the metabolic relation to nature as a key part of the socio-political problem to be addressed.
September 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 13)
In Pt. 4 of Cities After…Summer Climate Change series, Prof. Robles-Durán talks about the most significant delusional solution to Climate change to date: The Circular Economy, an economic framework that highlights enormous business opportunities in the reuse and recycling of commodities while it claims to save the planet from ecological collapse. What seems like a win-win scenario for environmentally conscious capitalists might not be what it projects.
July 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 12)
Continuing with Pt. 3 of Cities After…Summer Climate Change series, Prof. Robles-Durán talks to the world-renowned performance artist and activist William Tallen, famously known for his character Reverend Billy, described in a recent National Public Radio article as a Veteran anti-consumerist crusader taking aim at capitalism and climate change. Tallen and Robles-Durán discuss the destruction of NYC’s East River Park, the inseparable connection between art and the environment, the Sixth Extinction, greenwashing, and more.
June 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 11)
In the second episode of the Cities After… summer climate change series, Prof. Robles-Durán takes a deep dialectical dive into one of the most popular consumer "solutions" to the climate crisis: the electric car. He begins by sharing the reductionist points that both the auto industry and prestigious scientific journals promote to convince the masses that electric cars are environmentally friendly. In contrast, by looking dialectically and scrutinizing the capitalist industries involved in the whole production chain, Robles-Durán reveals that there is much more environmental destruction than we are told.
June 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 10)
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán introduces a summer series on climate change, urban ecology, and its dialectical origins. It is essential to first differentiate how urban ecology should be understood in contrast to the typical green positivist canopy in which is commonly inscribed. In subsequent episodes throughout this summer, Robles-Durán will attempt to transform popular positivist thinking about climate solutions into active and dynamic anti-capitalist directions for facing head-on what has produced the crisis we are in.
May 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 09)
This week we want to introduce the first Cities After…Grassroots Special, a quarterly series in which Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with core members of grassroots social movements about critical lessons from their work in the streets and the many projects they are pursuing to fight for the right to the city.
For the inaugural episode, Robles-Durán spoke with Santiago Mas De Xaxas Faus, João França, Delia Ccerare Paniora and Maka Suarez, four core members of Spain's most successful housing movement: La PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, translated as The Platform for People Affected by Mortgages). They speak about their recently published La PAH: A Handbook—A manual that offers ideas, based on their 13 years of experience, for ways of organizing, mobilizing people, empowering people, and building networks between social movements and organizations, specifically in regards to the right to affordable and decent housing for all.
May 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 08)
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán speaks with Miodrag Mitrašinović, one of the world’s foremost researchers on public space. Robles-Durán and Mitrašinović consider differing definitions of "public space," contrast Hudson Yards in Manhattan with Corona Plaza in Queens as distinct public investments with vastly different impacts on New York City’s residents, and speculate about a more equitable future in which communities can reappropriate the means of production of urban space away from oligarchs and philanthropists in order to build spaces that serve larger cultural, social, and political processes.
May 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 07)
Billionaires, or more accurately, oligarchs, exert disproportional influence and control over the world’s political power, media outlets, military discourse, human labor, and natural and urban resources, including those that we commonly regard as public. In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán looks at the idea of "public space" and asks: Is there anything "public" left in our urban and territorial infrastructure? What is the meaning of "public" within an oligarchy? How did the neoliberal agenda push public resources into the hands of private stakeholders and what can we do to reclaim and reinvest in truly public spaces?
April 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 06)
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán talks with Laura Raicovich, NY-based writer and art curator, about the roles that the global oligarchy plays in art museums and cultural institutions. They discuss how cultural institutions have never been the neutral, inclusive spaces they often market themselves as. Rather, these spaces, both public or private, rely heavily on private funding by elite donors and wealthy board members. Robles-Durán and Raicovich look closely at these complexities within major art institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, consider the dark money that funds these spaces, and highlight some organizations that are trying to reimagine cultural spaces with equity and care at the forefront.
March 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 05)
In this episode of Cities After…, Prof. Robles-Durán discusses how the western oligarchy has been intrinsically interconnected with its Russian counterpart through massive urbanization projects around the world. Oligarch Business Districts have been developed in major cities at the command of dark money in the search for legal loopholes, fiscal gymnastics, and money laundering. By looking closely at two of these development districts, New York’s Hudson Yards and Russia's Moscow International Business District, Robles-Durán reveals how they render the invisible web of dark money visible and enable an immense service industry of lawyers, accountants, architects, creatives and financiers dedicated to supplying the wants and needs of the global neoliberal oligarchy.
February 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 04)
In this episode of Cities After..., Prof. Robles-Durán talks with Josep Bohigas, Barcelona’s Chief Urban Planner, about the international image and perspectives of the hegemony of American Suburbia in Western Europe. Bohigas traces Spain’s suburban development from the 1920s until today, highlighting the similarities and differences from American sprawl. As Robles-Duran concludes this short series on the American Suburban Divide, it is important to emphasize how its disastrous influence on social and environmental urban dynamics continues to define many landscapes around the world. Thus, it becomes even more important to collectively imagine ways out of sprawl.
February 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 03)
In this episode of Cities After..., Prof. Robles-Durán breaks down the allure for many average working millennials of moving to the suburbs. Robles-Duran looks at five key contradictions of the contemporary American Suburban Divide: politics, wellbeing, remote work, climate change and economic opportunity. Speculating on dystopian and utopian post-covid scenarios, Robles-Duran ends with a call to action for everyone to join housing movements against sprawl and in favor of metropolitan affordable housing for young generations and the planet.
January 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 02)
In this episode of Cities After..., Prof. Robles-Durán talks with Andrew Ross about his most recent book, Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing. Robles-Duran and Ross build on ideas from the previous episode by looking at the history of suburbanization in the United States and exploring how the entertainment fantasy industry has helped shape the utopian image of American Suburbia. This podcast zooms in on Central Florida, home of Walt Disney’s dreams for building perfect cities.
January 2022 (Season 02 - Episode 01)
Welcome to Season Two of Cities After...! Prof. Robles-Durán begins this season with a series of four episodes in which to make sense of the growing suburban divide in the United States by honing in on it's divisive politics, the consequential production of COVID-19 boomtowns, and the future of sprawl.
In this first episode, Prof. Robles-Duran gives a brief overview of the primitive accumulation that gave rise to American Suburbia together with its racist, patriarchal and capitalist ideologies. This will serve as a basis to further delve into the contemporary phenomenon of post-COVID sprawl and its social, political, economic and environmental consequences to the near future of American cities and their inhabitants.
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