Reversing the Iceberg : Making ‘diverse economies’ visible in the context of migration and gender discrimination.

University essay from KTH/Stadsbyggnad

Author: Shegufta Newaz; [2016]

Keywords: Diverse Economies; Hovsjö; Collective;

Abstract: The term ‘Economy’ is often framed in relation to money, GDP, industries, businesses, waged labor and market etc. This narrow portrayal of economy excludes all the diverse activities and practices that people perform in everyday life as a part of the economy. J.K Gibson- Graham reframes economy in the book ‘Take back the Economy’ by presenting it as an ‘Iceberg’. While the tip of the iceberg is the visible capitalistic economy, the base underneath is formed with wide range of activities, places and people. These activities ranges from household works, bartering, sharing, recycling, self-employments, social co-ops, volunteering, peer to peer production, reproduction to different forms of local transactions and exchanges which takes place within families, neighbors and communities. In spite of seeing economy as a self-regulating machine the authors introduce the concept of ‘diverse economies’ in which people participate and influence economic actions.The predominant focus on capitalistic economy can be seen in the practice of urban design as well. Urban spaces are designed to foster economic growth as higher GDP rather than socio-environmental wellbeing. The insatiable growth has not only depleted the nature but also created power hierarchy and inequalities in different geographical and temporal level. The diverse economies are often undervalued and obscured eventhough it contributes a great deal in socio-environmental wellbeing. Focusing on the diverse economic activities can help to understand the local practices and resources, and can open up the possibility to empower the community.The thesis explores the theory of ‘diverse economies’ in relation to migration and gender discrimination. In the crisis of mass migration, unemployment, constraints in social welfare different forms of diverse economic practices help the society to sustain well. This thesis investigates the area Hovsjö in Södertälje which is often discussed for its unemployment, segregation, unrest and lack of democratic participation. The aim of the project is to make the diverse economies in Hovsjö visible and scale it up to perform collectively for socio-environmental wellbeing.4| reversing the 'icberg' | 5KTH- sustainable urban planning & design

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