Olivier Mongin: Urban Seminars Series Second Edition

Olivier Mongin presented a paper entitled « The city of flows, the two sides of globalization » during a seminar held at the Sharjah Hall the 24 of February in Khartoum and organized by the CEDEJ in collaboration with the Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, the Faculty of Architecture, the Faculty of Geography of the University of Khartoum. The seminar, translated from french to arabic, by Dr Azza Ahmed A. Aziz (SOAS – University of London),  was followed by a rich exchange between Mr Mongin and the audience of students and professors in presence of presence of Dr Hassan El Hajj, dean of the Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, Dr Gamal M. Hamid, dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Dr Ahmed El Faig, Dean of the Faculty of Geography, Dr Alice Franck, coordinator of the CEDEJ-Khartoum, Dr Ibtissam Sati, Deputy dean Faculty of Economic and Social Studies.

Olivier Mongin aims to demonstrate that globalization is not only an acceleration and intensification of exchanges of people, goods and information but it is first an anthropological change toward a mainly urban way of life. Such a change demands first one measure the current global turmoil. The developing countries now represent 95% of the world’s urban growth. Nine hundred million people live in what we refer to the historic city, when more than one billion live in favelas, slums and other illegal cities. Two more billion are living in contemporary urbanizations, a collection of diffuse cities, infinite cities, dispersed towns, etc. The city has thus been diluted but also more widespread. Olivier Mongin stresses the need to be aware of the stakes of this transformation of the urban experience by highlighting three major trends worldwide: flows tend to prevail over the places, especially with the Internet and the development of fast transport; urban diversity is declining everywhere, the privatization of life and public space is increasing.

For a better understanding of the urban element within globalization, Olivier Mongin relies on personal trips, readings and diverse artistic experiences hence developing an original analysis of the modalities of this supremacy of flows over places. From this perspective, he outlines a number of reflections linked to a paramount consideration of context and environment, including  the ecological, but also addressing issues of democracy and urban governance.

Olivier Mongin is a famous French essayist and philosopher. He was the director of the journal “Esprit” for over 20 years. Alongside the direction of this journal Olivier Mongin equally conducts publishing activities in various collections focusing on societal issues, philosophy and town planning. He has published books on different topics especially about democracy, the concept of “laughter” and about the city during the time of globalization.


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