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Self-Made City

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In 1961, autodidact urbanologist Jane Jacobs forever changed how we understood our cities. ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody,’ she wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, ‘only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.’

More than half a century later, her then-contentious argument – that the real life of a city emerges from the ground up – is a widely accepted wisdom.

Even so, in Melbourne and elsewhere, top-heavy developments are struggling to address urban planning problems like long-term homelessness, under-utilisation of public space and the socioeconomic fracturing of inner-city communities.

However, there are citizens, architects, artists and planners are working to change that. Whether it’s ‘tiny houses’, radically accessible public art spaces or ‘tactical urbanism’, there’s a growing movement devoted to exploring how low-cost, playful, and often impermanent forms of living can improve the lives of city-dwellers in meaningful ways.

RRR broadcaster and former editor of small footprint living bible Assemble Papers Sara Savage is joined by a panel of guests, including Mimi Zeiger, Millie Cattlin and Jessica Christiansen-Franks, for a discussion of engaged, practical city-making with a sense of play. 

Photo of the panellists

(Self-Made City is part of the Open House Melbourne program: What Would Jane Do?, and presented in partnership with Open House Melbourne.)

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