The power of logic versus the logic of power - urban planning
We find ourselves in a situation where large concentrations of power determines the layout of our urban
environments in most places in the world. Most architects, urban planners, designers, artists etc are more
than willing to work for these concentrations of power despite the fact that these concentrations of power do
not necessarily respect the rights of persons.
N55 suggest that we find a different approach to urban planning and take in to consideration whats right and
Intelligent urban design would require the design of systems which adjust themselves to the persons who live
in them and to their needs. Unlike a top-down master plan, such systems gradually dissolve themselves as the
inhabitants take over and transform their city according to their needs and desires. Based on collaboration,
cooperation and diversity, intelligent cities acknowledge that we are social beings needing space for being
It is possible to let the growth of the city be framed by simple rules, which allows people to freely develop
their own environments and systems. This will lead to inclusive relations across ideologies, religions, income
levels, nationalities etc
N55 propose a critical approach to city design by daring to give the inhabitants real and meaningful influence
on the form and function of their city, and by using friendly technologies, which allows our urban environment
to exist in symbiosis with our planet rather than as a parasite.
A potential revolutionary change of our urban environments lies simply in distributing power.
One of the prevailing means used by concentrations of power to control our urban environments is based on the
idea of ownership of land:
About ownership of land:
Logical relations are the most basic and most overlooked phenomenon we know. Nothing of which we can talk
rationally can exist, can be identified or referred to, except through its logical relations to other things.
Logic is necessary relations between different factors, and factors are what exist by the force of those
relations. The decisive thing about logical relations is that they can not be reasoned. Nevertheless, they do
constitute conditions necessary for any description, because they can not be denied without rejecting the
factors of the relations. Persons are, for example, totally different from their bodies. Persons can go for a
walk and they can make decisions. Bodies can not do that. Nevertheless, we can not refer to persons without
referring to their bodies. If we say: here we have a person, but he or she unfortunately is lacking a body, it
does not make sense. Persons are totally different from the concrete situations they are in. Nevertheless, we
can not refer to persons without referring to the situations they are in. If we say: here we have a person,
but this person has never been in a concrete situation, it does not make sense. Language is totally different
from reality. Nevertheless, we have to perceive language as something that can be used to talk about reality.
If we say: here we have a language, but this language can not be used to talk about reality, it does not make
sense. Logical relations have decisive significance. The absence of logical relations would mean that nothing
could be of decisive significance: as long as one does not contradict oneself nor is inconsistent with facts,
any point of view may be as good as the next, one can say and mean anything. Logical relations are conditions
for talking rationally together. The part of the world we can talk rationally about, can thus be defined as
the part we can talk about using logical relations. But we do not have any reason to assume that the world is
identical with what we can talk rationally about. Logic is something more basic than language. Logical
relations are what makes language a language and what assigns meaning to words. Therefore, it is impossible to
learn a language, without learning to respect logical relations. But as we grow up and learn to master
language, logical relations are not present on a conscious level. If we are conscious of logical relations, it
is possible for us to decide whether something is right or wrong and not to allow ourselves to be ruled by for
example habitual conceptions and subjective opinions.
A person can be described in an infinite number of ways. None of these descriptions can be completely
adequate. We therefore can not describe precisely what a person is. Whichever way we describe a person, we do
however have the possibility to point out necessary relations between persons and other factors. We have to
respect these relations and factors in order not to contradict ourselves and in order to be able to talk about
persons in a meaningful way. One necessary relation is the logical relation between persons and bodies. It
makes no sense to refer to a person without referring to a body. If we for example say: here we have a person,
but he or she does not have a body, it does not make sense. Furthermore, there are necessary relations between
persons and the rights of persons. Persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we
deny this assertion it goes wrong: here is a person, but this person should not be treated as a person, or:
here is a person, who should be treated as a person, but not as having rights. Therefore we can only talk
about persons in a way that makes sense if we know that persons have rights.
Concentrations of power
Concentrations of power do not always respect the rights of persons. If one denies this fact one gets:
concentrations of power always respect the rights of persons. This does not correspond with our experiences.
Concentrations of power characterize our society. Concentrations of power force persons to concentrate on
participating in competition and power games, in order to create a social position for themselves.
Concurrently with the concentrations of power dominating our conscious mind and being decisive to our
situations, the significance of our fellow humans diminishes. And our own significance becomes the
significance we have for concentrations of power, the growth of concentrations of power, and the conflicts of
concentrations of power.
It is clear that persons should be consciously aware of the rights of persons and therefore must seek to
organize the smallest concentrations of power possible.
Ownership of land
It is a habitual conception that ownership of land is acceptable. Most societies are characterized by the
convention of ownership. But if we claim the ownership of land, we also say that we have more right to parts
of the surface of the earth, than other persons have
We know that persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we say here is a person
who has rights, but this person has no right to stay on the surface of the earth, it does not make sense. If
one does not accept that persons have the right to stay on the surface of the earth, it makes no sense to talk
about rights at all. If we try to defend ownership of land using language in a rational way it goes wrong. The
only way of defending this ownership is by the use of power and force. No persons have more right to land than
other persons, but concentrations of power use force to maintain the illusion of ownership of land.
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