Polycentrism and the right to the city in metropolitan areas

Publication date:
Antonio Aniesa, Head of International Relations, Plaine Commune, France

In 2016 the New Urban Agenda, adopted at the Habitat III Summit in Quito, made reference to the “right to the city”. While some figures involved in the debate welcomed its inclusion, others suggested it risked denaturalizing the concept. After all, when those threatened by an idea fail to completely defeat it, do they not typically attempt to co-opt it? 
The “right to the city” is undergoing a revival in the debates about urban space. This may be read as an expression of dissatisfaction among urban dwellers, a desire to reappropriate cities, or a reaction to urban transformations driven, in particular, by metropolitanisation, where life disappears behind the concepts of a “business” city, an “attractive” metropolis and of “competitiveness”.