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A B S T R A C T Taking plants from their original habitat and keeping them in pots is an illustrative example of manmade, power-oriented and unnatural habitation. Naturally, a plant cannot survive in a segregated environment of a pot. For this reason, diverse supportive activities such as watering, feeding or protecting must be planned. These supplying infrastructures create a great power for the caretaker over the life of the potted plant. Using the example of potted plants, this article tries to shed light on social and ecological problems of urbanization.

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Urbanization: Planting Forests in Pots Dr. HOSSEIN SADRI * Visiting Scholar, the City College of New York, CUNY Associate Professor, Girne American University E mail: hosadri@gmail.com A B S T R A C T Taking plants from their original habitat and keeping them in pots is an illustrative example of manmade, power-oriented and unnatural habitation. Naturally, a plant cannot survive in a segregated environment of a pot. For this reason, diverse supportive activities such as watering, feeding or protecting must be planned. These supplying infrastructures create a great power for the caretaker over the life of the potted plant. Using the example of potted plants, this article tries to shed light on social and ecological problems of urbanization. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(2), 122-129. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4676 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2018Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. “To live like a tree alone and free and like a forest in brotherhood” (Nazim Hikmet Ran, 1940) 1. Introduction Last week Reuters released a news related to the newest study on the wealthiest cities of the world and stated that with 3 trillion dollar wealth, New York City is the richest city of the world (RT, 2018). Forbes reports that New York City is the world capital of ultra-rich people with its 79 billionaires (Savchuk, 2016). These and similar news related to New York City creates an image of a prosperous environment in the mind of readers. However, few minutes of surf in the studies and statistics or a short visit to the city is enough to discover the reverse reality of shortage and poverty in the city. Even though there are many systematic and volunteer social support programs, the pains and distresses of New Yorkers are not relieved. Below I will give examples of these social programs on the issues of homelessness and hunger. In spite of the well-developed and functioning aid programs of public and local authorities, which do not regularly exist in other mega-cities and never exist in smaller towns, the insufficiency of these programs is easily readable from the existing conditions and the growing rates of social problems in the city. Both the state government in New York and the New York City management have several housing aid programs such as the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP), and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing Program (OSAH) administered by the Housing and Support Services (HSS) of New York government and Department of Homeless Services New York City (OTDA, 2018). Nevertheless, during the year 2017, 130,000 homeless people including 45,000 children slept in the municipal shelter system of New York City (Coalition for the Homeless, 2018). According to the reports of the federal government in the United States, the number of homeless people in New York City is the highest one in the United States (Iverac, 2017). In addition to the 250 million meals, which are served in schools, or through the non-profit partners in homeless shelters, care centers and public hospitals, New York City also directly distributes 250 million meals every year. The city management establishes food supporting programs such as Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) which serves 5.5 million Kg of food for 15 million people annually and The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which serves 1.7 million New Yorkers. However, the meal gap in New York City is very high; and 225 million meals are missing from the homes of the families struggling with food insecurity every year. There are almost 1.3 million food-insecure New Yorkers. (NYC Food Policy, 2017). New York City has the highest number of food insecure individuals in the United States (Feeding America, 2017) 2. Where the Problem Comes From? New York City contains almost the same variety of the problems that all other urban areas around the world are facing, with a much more gravity and seriousness. In this sense, New York is a prototypical urban area in which a huge number of people with the variety of problems and opportunities are aggregated (Lindsay, 1974). Supplying the needs of these people is highly dependent on the systematic tools, technological means, resources and energies. Robson declares that without these supports, the survival of these vast aggregations of people in their concentrated urban areas is impossible. He underlines the dependency of urban inhabitants on the machines and mechanisms of transfer, filtration, and administration of drinking water, or the services and systems of waste collection and sewerage (Robson, 1972). This urban society is the result of industrialization and domination of capitalism and as Lefebvre explains is highly interrelated with the establishment of urban infrastructures (Lefebvre, 2003). These supporting systems and infrastructure are developed to fulfill the missing functions of the human habitat that in any natural habitat originally exists. This artificiality and vulnerability of urban habitat and its dependency on external energies support and care from the outer resources, reminds me the condition of a potted plant. 3. How Potted Plants Survive? Plants originally grow on earth under the conditions deriving from their co-operations and inter-relations with other living beings such as plants, fungi, microbes, insects and animals, in addition to other climatic and physical conditions. These co-operations create some niches such as microclimates supportive to the growth of a specific plant and build a resilient environment for its life. The highest resiliency and sustainability, the best living conditions and overall performances of plants can be found in forests where the most diverse and strong inter-connections exist. Conversely, potted plants and their fragile life conditions originate from their complete isolation from the resources of life such as water and food, and their destitution from any solidarity and collaboration. Johns expresses this instability with the mutative health conditions of potted plants changing even between morning and evening of the same day from a healthy to a seriously diseased condition (Johns, 1974).

Perspectives

Urbanization: Planting Forests in Pots Dr. HOSSEIN SADRI * Visiting Scholar, the City College of New York, CUNY Associate Professor, Girne American University E mail: hosadri@gmail.com A B S T R A C T Taking plants from their original habitat and keeping them in pots is an illustrative example of manmade, power-oriented and unnatural habitation. Naturally, a plant cannot survive in a segregated environment of a pot. For this reason, diverse supportive activities such as watering, feeding or protecting must be planned. These supplying infrastructures create a great power for the caretaker over the life of the potted plant. Using the example of potted plants, this article tries to shed light on social and ecological problems of urbanization. CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2018) 2(2), 122-129. https://doi.org/10.25034/ijcua.2018.4676 www.ijcua.com Copyright © 2018Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved. “To live like a tree alone and free and like a forest in brotherhood” (Nazim Hikmet Ran, 1940) 1. Introduction Last week Reuters released a news related to the newest study on the wealthiest cities of the world and stated that with 3 trillion dollar wealth, New York City is the richest city of the world (RT, 2018). Forbes reports that New York City is the world capital of ultra-rich people with its 79 billionaires (Savchuk, 2016). These and similar news related to New York City creates an image of a prosperous environment in the mind of readers. However, few minutes of surf in the studies and statistics or a short visit to the city is enough to discover the reverse reality of shortage and poverty in the city. Even though there are many systematic and volunteer social support programs, the pains and distresses of New Yorkers are not relieved. Below I will give examples of these social programs on the issues of homelessness and hunger. In spite of the well-developed and functioning aid programs of public and local authorities, which do not regularly exist in other mega-cities and never exist in smaller towns, the insufficiency of these programs is easily readable from the existing conditions and the growing rates of social problems in the city. Both the state government in New York and the New York City management have several housing aid programs such as the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), the Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP), New York State Supportive Housing Program (NYSSHP), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), Emergency Needs for the Homeless Program (ENHP), and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing Program (OSAH) administered by the Housing and Support Services (HSS) of New York government and Department of Homeless Services New York City (OTDA, 2018). Nevertheless, during the year 2017, 130,000 homeless people including 45,000 children slept in the municipal shelter system of New York City (Coalition for the Homeless, 2018). According to the reports of the federal government in the United States, the number of homeless people in New York City is the highest one in the United States (Iverac, 2017). In addition to the 250 million meals, which are served in schools, or through the non-profit partners in homeless shelters, care centers and public hospitals, New York City also directly distributes 250 million meals every year. The city management establishes food supporting programs such as Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) which serves 5.5 million Kg of food for 15 million people annually and The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which serves 1.7 million New Yorkers. However, the meal gap in New York City is very high; and 225 million meals are missing from the homes of the families struggling with food insecurity every year. There are almost 1.3 million food-insecure New Yorkers. (NYC Food Policy, 2017). New York City has the highest number of food insecure individuals in the United States (Feeding America, 2017) 2. Where the Problem Comes From? New York City contains almost the same variety of the problems that all other urban areas around the world are facing, with a much more gravity and seriousness. In this sense, New York is a prototypical urban area in which a huge number of people with the variety of problems and opportunities are aggregated (Lindsay, 1974). Supplying the needs of these people is highly dependent on the systematic tools, technological means, resources and energies. Robson declares that without these supports, the survival of these vast aggregations of people in their concentrated urban areas is impossible. He underlines the dependency of urban inhabitants on the machines and mechanisms of transfer, filtration, and administration of drinking water, or the services and systems of waste collection and sewerage (Robson, 1972). This urban society is the result of industrialization and domination of capitalism and as Lefebvre explains is highly interrelated with the establishment of urban infrastructures (Lefebvre, 2003). These supporting systems and infrastructure are developed to fulfill the missing functions of the human habitat that in any natural habitat originally exists. This artificiality and vulnerability of urban habitat and its dependency on external energies support and care from the outer resources, reminds me the condition of a potted plant. 3. How Potted Plants Survive? Plants originally grow on earth under the conditions deriving from their co-operations and inter-relations with other living beings such as plants, fungi, microbes, insects and animals, in addition to other climatic and physical conditions. These co-operations create some niches such as microclimates supportive to the growth of a specific plant and build a resilient environment for its life. The highest resiliency and sustainability, the best living conditions and overall performances of plants can be found in forests where the most diverse and strong inter-connections exist. Conversely, potted plants and their fragile life conditions originate from their complete isolation from the resources of life such as water and food, and their destitution from any solidarity and collaboration. Johns expresses this instability with the mutative health conditions of potted plants changing even between morning and evening of the same day from a healthy to a seriously diseased condition (Johns, 1974).

Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs
Girne American University

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This page is a summary of: Urbanization: Planting Forests in Pots, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, March 2018, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), DOI: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.4676.
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