La plaza central del Idroscalo de Ostia

The Idroscalo, a self-grown neighborhood on the coast of Rome

02/05/2016 admin 0
Few people know that Rome has a coastal line. Where the Tiber river meets the sea, lies the last self-built neighborhood of the Italian capital: Idroscalo, where Pasolini died, and where 500 families have been fighting during half a century against the threat of urban renewal.
Eviction free zonePK

City Life: From victims to activists against real estate speculation

23/03/2016 admin 0
Boston has today the highest income divide of the US: evictions invariably hit latinos or afroamerican neighborhoods. City Life / Vida Urbana since the 1970s keeps building a network of mutual aid among those who suffer the consequences of these housing policies, also through the use of theater, rituals, symbols.
Del video de "Wled L7ouma", Mafia Banlieue

El Haouma, that is, the neighborhood

09/06/2015 admin 0
What happened to these young men that were so celebrated in 2011, the main actors of the so-called 'arab springs'? In recent years we only hear news about politicians, leaders, terrorists... but what about normal people, where have they been? The answer is simple: in their neighborhoods. In Hay Hlil, in Oukacha, in Hezbet el Haggana, where there is the same anger and frustration that there was before the protests.
"Tent Embassy", embajada aborigena en Camberra en protesta contra las expulsiones en Redfern (fuente: haz click)

Sydney, a (post)colonial city

22/11/2014 admin 0
On the occasion of the opening of "Australian 'Ndrangheta", webpage of a UCL research group of which our friend Stephen BENNETTS is a member, we propose a series of interesting videos and texts from the other corner of the world, on topics such as the expulsions of Aboriginese from native lands and urban neighborhood as Sydney's Redfern.
El Forat de la Vergonya en Barcelona. Foto Girard Girbes, 2005.

To resist is to win: 10 years in the Forat

23/06/2014 admin 0
It has been ten years from that memorable night in which, after many months suffering the insolence of the city council, the continuous police harassment, and the arrogance of real estate investors, finally we returned them the blow. When various hundreds of inhabitants and sympathizers demolished the wall with which mayor Joan Clos ordered to encapsulate the Forat de la Vergonya, we understood that revolt is nothing more than the ultimate possible rational act against a governmental order based on the dispossession of the commons.
The fire that burned this escavator died out; but the one that thousands of us keep inside, is still burning.

The Rumba of Barcelona (the “Can Vies effect”)

26/05/2014 admin 0
Requested by the metropolitan transportation authority TMB, catalan autonomic police evicted the historical Can Vies squat in Sants neighbourhood (Barcelona). But the eviction caused a wave of popular uprisings that lasted five days and five nights, and that ended with an attempt to collectively reconstruct the social centre.
En la isla de Poveglia, por lo visto, hay fantasmas.

There is life in the lagoon

26/04/2014 admin 0
We normally consider Venice as a dead city. Its destiny seems such an inescapable fact that so little is done and even thought to imagine a different future. But something is moving in the lagoon.
Ciutat Meridiana - foto de José Mansilla, 2013

Ciudad Meridiana… exists!

05/10/2013 admin 0

The history of the neighbourhood of Ciudad Meridiana is a perfect summary of Barcelona’s urbanistic schizofrenia. Built in the Sixties on a land accounted as too damp to build a cemetery, with no transportation or services, secluded and unfit to live in, but with a strong neighbours’ movement, it has always been a problematic territory, unknown to the rest of the population: many of its inhabitants started to leave it already in the Eighties, trying to climb socially and spacially, getting over the decade in which the neighbourhood population reached its peak. Since 2001, when Catalonia and Spain were still inside the “housing market bubble”, the immigrants began arriving to Ciudad Meridiana, through mortgages the banks offered crossing the endorsements, and through other tricks that the financial capital used to “infiltrate the world of the urban poor”, as anthropologist Jaime PALOMERA writes in his essay about the neighbourhood. After the crisis began, Ciudad Meridiana was described as an eviction city, and now again for its strong neighbours and squatters movement. Recently there was an interesting debate: the City Council proposed to establish there an innovative “FabLab” related with MIT, but the neighbours reclaim that same spot for a food bank, much more useful to face the growing poverty of many families [see article here].

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Conference in Bolonia: the subjective dimensions of vulnerability

01/09/2013 admin 0
"Lean, Cover, Hold": Risk prevention against earthquakes in Khatmandhu, Nepal. Photo: Stefano Portelli, 2013

On october 5th, in Bolonia (Italy) the Network for the Evaluation of the Subjective Dimensions of Vulnerability (REDISUV) Chile-Europe will meet for the second time, after the foundational Conference in Paris. The repeated natural catastrophes in Chile made evident the need for a more systematic study about the subjectivities of the communities affected, which are always the product of particular social, economical and political conditions. The program of the conference includes papers concerning natural desasters, but also approaches to the “urban” vulnerability, caused by neoliberal policies as the one our group has been studying in Barcelona.

  • Bolonia, Thursday september 5th, 10am-6pm: “Vite invisibili: dimensioni soggettive della vulnerabilità sociale, program in PDF.
  • Davide Olori (2013) “Taking over the center to oppose evictions: the case of the Inmuebles Recuperados Autogestionados en Santiago de Chile” [PDF, italian]. “The urgency for housing after the earthquake forced towards the aggregation of both informal organizations (as neighbours, relatives, co-workers) and formal ones (political, parties…), so causing dynamics of rupture and recomposition among interests, hierarchies, relationships…”
  • Fabio Carnelli studied ethnographically the consequences of the earthquake in L’Aquila (central Italy) some years after: the “militarized” solution brought again to life the traumas, and increased the  vulnerability of the population. See Sismografie on Il lavoro culturale webpage. And also Rita Ciccaglione’s article, one year after the earthquake in Emilia Romagna.
  • Caterina Borelli jsut published on academia.edu her PhD thesis about Sarajevo: “La ciudad post-traumática” (see also this older post)
  • Stefano Portelli (2013) “Spatial reordering and social pathology in the periphery of Barcelona: the social impact of urban transformation”, intervención al XXI congreso del International Social Theory Consortium, Copenhagen, June 26-27th [Coming soon!]
Las Marchas dos Santos en Lisboa.

Two cities in the same Lisbon

27/08/2013 admin 0
Two Lisbons live together in the same place, and represent two different urban imaginaries: the Marchas dos Santos populars is an effort to bring back to life the impossible memory, of the organic unity lost in some faraway past, before the 'Pombaline Split', when all Lisbon was bairrista.
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Memories of the resistance: the Flor de Maig

30/07/2013 admin 0
What remains: Flor de Maig, built in 1896 and photographied in 2013 (credits: José Mansilla).

The story of the city of Barcelona can be told focusing on its modifications: its urban plans, projects and transformations, i.e., on what changes. But the story of the city can also be told focusing on what remains, through what survives, what resists on the great void created by the struggles over the territory. Some elements – parks, places, buildings, corners – as classic sociologists said, maintain an identity, some relationships, and an enormous popular meaning. This is the case of Flor de Maig, the emblematic building of one of the big workers’ cooperatives of the XIX and XX century, which conveys the memory of Poblenou: a memory of struggles and resistance. Since 2012, some residents recovered the building, and transformed it into a place of denunciation against the neoliberal direction that the city of Barcelona is undertaking, or, as their website says, to give an answer to the needs, the challenges and the unsatisfied desires of the contemporary capitalist city. Will they succeed?

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WHOSE megaevents?

11/07/2013 admin 0
Impacto on the "micro" level: a house sentenced for demolitions in Río. From "No, I'm not going to the World Cup" video(2013)

Who were London 2012 Olympic Games for? Were they for the athletes,  the sponsors, the organizers, the global audience? Or were they for us? Our friend Gynna Millan (from UCL Development Planning Unit; in 2009 she presented a proposal for Repensar Bonpastor competition), together with a group of video enthusiasts, studied the impact of the “greatest event on earth” on public spaces, parks and local communities in London. The result is a video archive available on Whose Olympics? website, and a short documentary [watch trailer]. Two years later, we can ask again: who will Brasil’s 2014 World Cup be for? The world cup is not ours“, write these architects from Río Grande do Sur, quoting Plato. These megaevents are transnational, as the protests they elicit. But the discourse of globalization, that transforms any local event in just another chapter of the same story, it’s not our own either. As we discussed in a recent OACU meeting in Barcelona (where, obviously, we have the precedent of 1992’s Olympics), we are much more interested in differences than in similarities. Anthropology has to keep an eye on correspondences and interrelation on the “macro” level, but it explores mainly the local articulations, what is unmeasurably “micro”: all that can’t be compared, all that is specific to each story, place, events, and to the impact of each phenomenon on every particular territory.

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Taksim halkindir- Taksim belongs to the people!

05/06/2013 admin 0

Early in the morning I find Taksim square already full of people and fully operational, among the flags of the left-wing extraparlamentary groups, and of associations of the civil society, from feminists to LGBT, from kurdish anarchists to muslim anticapitalists and marxists…A commentary from our correspondent in Istanbul: [in spanish and italian]

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World Assembly of Inhabitants at Tunis WSF

27/03/2013 admin 0
FSM 2013 opening parade, on march 26th in Tunis

From March 26th to 30th, in the frame of the Tunisian meeting of the World Social Forum, a World Assembly of Inhabitants (WAI) is taking place, organized by the International Alliance of Inhabitants, Habitat International Coalition and No-Vox networks. Here is the program of the WAI meeting; to prepare the WAI, the International Alliance of Inhabitants promoted the visual project Memories of inhabitants, compiling hundreds of interviews to activists for the right of housing in 4 continents. We add some reflections about the Forum itself, which was planned in time of generalized euphoria, but is now facing a much more complex reality: Altermundialism seeks new breath in Tunis, from the blog Tunisie Libre; WSF to blast austerity, Yasmine Ryan in Aljazeera; What I learned about feminism from a Moroccan men’s chorus, Maria Poblet in In these times; and One year after the revolution from Nawaat.…

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On the occasion of the election of a new pope…

13/03/2013 admin 0
Click here to watch; and CC for subtitles (ENG-ITA)

The speech of the great Manuela Trasobares [more about her] during the protest against the visit of Joseph Ratzinger to Barcelona, on november 7th, 2010, in a video made by our friend Jordi Secall: a political line about the church, the state, history… that reminds us of when, in Barcelona, we had a very clear opinion about these things. [original video in jordi secall’s blog :: reduced version in youtube, subtitled in SPANISH, ENGLISH & ITALIAN!]

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