- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-4336-5
- Pages: 168
- Price: £65.00
- Published Date: March 2020
- Series: Manchester Capitalism
Housing. Water. Energy. Transport. Food. Education. Health care. These are the core systems which make human life possible in the 21st century. Few of us are truly self-sufficient - we rely on the systems built into our cities and towns of all shapes and sizes in order to survive, let alone thrive.
Despite how important these systems are, and how much we rely on them, contemporary politics and mainstream economics in most of the world largely ignore these core systems. Politicians debate what they think will get them elected; economists value what they think drives growth.
This book joins the growing chorus of activists, academics and innovators who think that we should be focusing on what matters, on the parts of our economy in which most of us work and upon which all of us depend for survival. We help push this movement along by suggesting a series of concrete steps we can take to build what we call the "Spatial Contract". The spatial contract is a form of social contract that pays attention to a simple fact: in order for humans to be free, we rely on these basic systems that enable us to act. At the heart of the spatial contract is an agreement to channel that action into ensuring these systems are built, maintained and available to all who need them, in big cities and small towns all around the world.
This book is relevant to both United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 and 9, Affordable and clean energy and Industry, innovation and infrastructureThis book is relevant to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, innovation and infrastructure
'When infrastructural systems are unequally distributed, some people are able to do more things than others - some people may breathe fresh air, while the toxic pollutants inhaled by others prevent them from going outside. These seemingly obvious, yet overlooked, features of infrastructural systems underlie the central argument of The Spatial Contract.'
Valerie Soon, Environmental Ethics
1 Freedom, reliance and the spatial contract
2 Seeing like a system
3 Seeing like a settlement
4 Reliance and exploitation
Conclusion: Building a healthy spatial contract
Matthew Noah Smith is Associate Professor in philosophy in the Northeastern University Department of Philosophy and Religion
Alex Schafran is an urban planner and geographer, and the author of The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics
Stephen Hall is University Academic Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds