There are lots of events and talks going on relating to my program that I get emails about. There was one on Wednesday that no one went to because we had a mandatory health and safety seminar. My professor was both relieved and annoyed when he learned that was the reason no one attended.
Not to worry there was a conference on Friday that we could attend. Part of me wanted to sleep and catch up on readings but I came here planning to do more stuff and less studying. The conference was the result of a partnership between Edinburgh and Copenhagen, which was another part of the appeal of going. The talks themselves were about urban democratization.
The morning began with a funny and bleak talk about the Highline and how it has lead to massive gentrification and development pressures that are pushing out the residents who originally fought for it. It related to questions of how you manage change and preserve the things that made something good in the first place. The next talk covered a pop up project in Copenhagen. It talked about problems with trying to make temporary projects something more permanent. Afterwards someone from the Roskilde festival talked to us about applying lessons from a festival city to everyday cities.
Coffee was served and there was a brief break. I stood around chatting with others. The heat wasn’t working at the venue so they blasted space heaters that looked like rocket ship engines and were diesel powered.
The next speaker talked about arts organizations here in Edinburgh and a process that was designed to help include a broader array of people involved in the arts beyond the traditional festival representatives. To close off the day a very interesting talk was delivered by an American guy about taking back his neighbourhood and making it into a vibrant place to live. He challenged the municipal government and broke laws that were crushing street life with temporary pilot projects. He also managed to get a tram network put back into his formerly street car community. It fit with the American style of quick cheap transformative community activism that has been quite effective in many places.