saskia sassen

saskia sassen.png

[ny & london]

working on page just now.. after swim..


i believe first intro to her was via next system project video..?

We were also excited to have had the opportunity to premiere our latest film at SOCAP15. The film, “Transforming Cities, Changing the System,” highlights the importance of city-level transformation and the development of new economic institutions at the municipal scale to the work of bringing about wider systemic change.

The short film features Daniel Ellsberg, Sarita Gupta, Danny Glover, Saskia Sassen, Gar Alperovitz, Bill McKibben, Camille Kerr, Aaron Tanaka, Dean Baker, Angela Glover Blackwell, Juliet Schor, and Dayna Cunningham.

from film: every kind of talent matters.. – Saskia

then platform coop.. and board of diem25.. and habitat 3/quito papers ness..

talks: HABITAT III (Quito, 17-20 October 2016)

first one with (below & also sitting in this order) JoanSaskia, Richard, and Ricky

habitat 3 panel.png

Richard talking

4 min in talking about quito papers

5 min – charter from 1933 – on dream of how city could function as beautiful machine

6 min – today dream has turned into worst nightmare… idea that you create these isolated efficient skyscrapers detached from each other.. city has become simplified into set of forms… socially repressive/exclusive from people who can’t afford do live in them.. this was our background.. what would be alt to this..

a nother way as alt.. a means to shell us..

for (blank)’s sake

functional ness has become a closed system.. my contribution has been on thinking about cities on open system..

open enough.. to set/keep all of us free..

open city: 1\ complex in synchronous way 2\incomplete in form  3\porous in relationship to various elements in city..

8 min – 1\ generation of complexity.. not well understood.. generated by synchronous activity.. many things happening at once.. works against time.. of sorting out activities appropriate at diff times day/night.. instead of happening at same time..complexity created by spontenaity/synchronicity… disperate elements create synergies.. happens thru activities that don’t fit together.. happening at same time..

11 min – 2\ incomplete form.. has dna which begins process of development but at end is not determined.. defn of closure: you know beginning, determine end.. but inbetween unknown .. open is opp: process of development key critical point.. we’re looking at shells…. not prototypes.. but shells.. of communal orgs.. where theres’a house for something but w/in shell.. is empty.. finding what kind of shells can contain people w/in … today.. closed cities are anything but shells.. interior is completely programmed.. what people are going to do is sussed up.. completely structured.. so what kinds of shells enable open growth

14 min – 3\ porous.. cell membrane.. in cities.. there are very few membrane conditions.. divisions are dead edges.. the notion of exchange is something we’re not seeing in cities.. instead seeing emphasis on centers instead of edges…  because of our focus on id’s coming from centers.. coming from dominate group.. that’s not a city.. a city is a place of strangers.. and strangers exchange at the edges of their id’s…

14 min – of these 3 elements..politically most difficult.. is to create environments which are porous.. because notion of being de centered is difficult for people.. have to learn it.. become porous w/in self.. challenge of porous city is challenge of creating cosmopolitans who are literally de centered…

i hope quito papers will inspire this..


starts about 18 min – talking mostly in spanish.. (so.. notes from translator’s words)

19 min – two parts – slums and org high rise.. neither are cities..

20 min – talking about city is not just talking about city.. talking about massive loss of habitat

26 min – do we really need a multi national co .. to drink a cup of coffee..?

28 min – on singapore buying poor part of detroit.. didn’t announce it.. probably because in 4-5 yrs will recapture.. to build mall or ? a very strong utility function.. so this question of recapture.. we must build it..

30 min – quito papers helpful in this.. recapture.. recover urban space..


31 min – how do we repair our cities..


aug 2016 – who owns the city


the dense built up complex of blds today.. might be a private office park..

3 min – why do cities matter.. 1 aspect absolutely critical.. the big city.. cannot be fully controlled.. is a space where those w/o power get to make a history.. a neighborhood econ of culture.. can’t do that in an office park…

4 min – city is critical.. today there are many densities that are private/controlled.. we do not get to make a history of culture..

6 min – two rising urban formations:

31 min – british rich – it’s so empty here – like to have other people around…

32 min – why does all of this matter.. why is there all of this buying and then all of this emptiness..

33 min – city one of places where everybody is welcome.. too anarchic.. cannot be fully controlled.. many problems.. but city is still that kind of place… buying up hunks of these cities and keeping them empty.. is not a good idea..

there are moments in the daily routine of the city where we all become urban subjects.. that’s capability embedded in urban space… that matters

34 min – strong cities produce these urban subjects

commerce made it work.. the civic and commerce are what made it work .. are the glue of the urban

35 min – other version.. city can actually hack all kinds of actors.. including us.. ie: can turn us into urban subject.. by hacking/unsettling an original design.. so instead of being religious/racial.. urban..

36 min – the city is spoken.. to fancy car.. saying.. not here.. maybe on the highway.. but not here..

37 min – does the city have speech.. i say yes.. but we have forgotten that kind of language..

39 min – times of day city can hack all other.. ie: rush hour… this possibility of us becoming urban subjects

40 min – urban subject as deviant.. continually adapting.. alone.. not lonely.. but indestructible.. know how to be alone.. enabling us to live together.. value of having cities.. density is not enough..

2 conversations

re\wire: ds\ni-ic

networked individualism

99 and 1

48 min – on importance of contracts..


perhaps rather.. hosting-life-bits via self-talk as data

53 min – what is that something else..? it’s a good way to store your money..

? do we need money.. isn’t that what’s getting in the way..?

54 min – on panama papers.. and some contracts actually being clean.. system set up if have money needing to store it…. buy property

57 min – if can make it work for social good.. fine with that .. 2 problems 1\ people are greedy 2\ we don’t have intervening steps to produce that.. finance as capability for good intentions..

or.. perhaps.. disengage from money as os..

1:05 – we’ve got to take this city space seriously.. complex but incomplete..

1:06 – if we could take cities as important constituent elements..

1:10 – if i had a lot of money and if buying was the only bridge.. i would enable a poorer version .. a modest version of recovery.. i would not look at as a profit.. but as enabler..

1:11 – saskia: city as one space where power is partially an encounter between econ power – only partially material.. and rest of city..  a working city is a city that is a frontier space.. actors from diff worlds have an encounter.. w/ no prior rules..capacity to enable those w/o power..


Saskia Sassen (@SaskiaSassen) tweeted at 6:30 AM – 9 Feb 2018 :

here is the Deep Inside the Global City–with images..yes they are great –being abstract rather than descriptive they enable u to image/explore the complexity of urban condition (

The frontier is a space where actors from different worlds have an encounter for which there are no established rules of engagement. Whereas the “historic” frontier was at the edges of empire, today’s frontier is deep inside large, complex, and mixed global cities

entropy ness in spaces like iwan baan ness

The disadvantaged and excluded can gain presence in such cities, presence vis-à-vis power and, even more important, vis-à-vis each other. This mix of conditions signals the possibility of a new type of politics, centered around new types of political actors and spaces. It is no longer simply a matter of having power or not. There are new hybrid bases from which to act; spaces where the powerless can make history, even without becoming empowered.

The city, unlike office “parks,” for example, enables a kind of public-making work that can produce disruptions. They can render the local and silenced legible. Today’s global cities are one key space for this making. They are one of the few frontier spaces in a world where so much has already been bought up. With all their inequities and conflicts, it is in cities where those without power get to make a history, a local economy, and a culture…a vast diverse city that no actor can fully control.

legible ness

The common assertion that we live in a far less bordered world than thirty years ago only holds if we consider the traditional borders of the interstate system, and then only for the cross-border flow of capital, information, and particular population groups. In short, it is an extremely limited and partial openness.

borders ness

They (financial conquerors) want instruments that allow them to cut across international borders and occupy only the sites of that territory that they need or desire for their own projects—differing radically from the older imperial land grabs.

Indeterminacy is Critical

uncertainty.. no agenda.. no strings

The street, which also includes unmarked squares and any available open space, is a raw, unpredictable space. .. we might say that, politically, the street and square are marked by action, whereas the boulevard and piazza are marked by rituals… One project with great potential is, for instance, what we could call “open-sourcing” the neighborhood.

neighbor\hood (govt) ness

Seen in this way, social media can become an effective third force in tactical urbanism.

as it could be.. mech to listen to all the voices..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

Tactical urbanism can find diverse spaces in such cities, spaces that might have been previously submerged, invisible, or without voice.

not voice less..

This all points to the importance of making a distinction between powerlessness and invisibility/impotence. The disadvantaged in global cities may lack power, but they can gain “presence” in their engagement with power—and, importantly, also gain presence vis-à-vis each other and thereby know that they are many. And while the literature on empowerment tends to reason that only empowerment counts, I would argue that gaining complexity in one’s powerlessness, even if one does not become empowered, can still make a difference.

pluralistic ignorance – but i’m not the only one

it is cities that offer the powerless the possibility of making presence.

in the city.. as the day..


find/follow Saskia:

link twitter

New book: EXPULSIONS: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Harvard Univ Press 2014) Many articles on

wikipedia small

Saskia Sassen (born January 5, 1947) is a Dutch-American sociologist noted for her analyses of globalizationand international human migration. She is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and Centennial visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Sassen coined the term global city.


She is married to sociologist Richard Sennett.

Richard – intro via rhizo14


cities for housing



city ness