December 11, 2018

cof clone tag: 7113714258002571899

I met a group of playful teenage boys on the bike lane outside the library in Rosengård.

– What do You think of the surveillance cameras up there? I pointed at a CCTV camera placed just under the roof on the Sports centre.

The boys looked up, chuckling and looking around.

– It’s good for society…but not for us. We do bad stuff, one of them said still chuckling.

Another boy said:

– 360! 360 degrees! It can see all the way from here to Babylon.

Babylon is a supermarket at the end of the main walking path through Rosengård. When I later biked there, I realized what he meant. It is true, the cameras see You almost everywhere in the public space in Rosengård.

These boys have insight. They know they might be involved in social relations that can lead to a criminal path. Safety is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (Article 3.). How does society care for these young boys?

In Malmö social sustainability is central in developing the city. The quote above is taken from Virginia Held’s The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global, and illustrates my thoughts on social sustainability. When discussing CCTV in socio economically exposed districts it is important to always keep in mind not to divide people into “us and them”. Then a spiral of distrust emerges which often also is gendered in the sense we put a spotlight on our society’s most vulnerable young boys fostered in the most exposed districts and stigmatize them already from the beginning.

CCTV can not solve these problems, but if the use of it were discussed with teenagers and they got to know the theories behind the use of CCTV, maybe this could make them interested in the social care taking of their own neighborhood? If teachers and other key professionals in the district would discuss how social unrest, socio economic inequality and gender roles affect life in public space, maybe something positive can happen which facilitates social care? 

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