Like chinese boxes, this documentary not only brilliantly shows the institucional and political corruption behind the police-orchestrated hoax known as ‘4F’, which began on February 4th, 2006 in Barcelona’s calle Sant Pere Més Baix, but it also extends in a coil the understanding of horror to wider levels of society: from the police, to the judges, to the press, to social services, to the city council, to gentrification, in brief, to power in itself. Like before Joaquim Jordà’s De Nens (2003), now Ciutat Morta leads us from a particular history to the deep and terrifying comprehension of the general, of society, of the city. To the memory of Patricia Heras, the dead poet.
- “4F with names and surnames: a reflection on police, the judiciary, the press and the politicians, during the suffocating silence prior to the broadcasting of ‘Ciutat Morta’“, Jesus Rodríguez in La Directa, 21/1/2015
- “Something stinks in Barcelona“, Argelaga review, 27/1/2015
- Two petitions to sign: for the reopening of the case, and for the resignation of the Judge that seems to have written the verdict before holding the trial.
- Webpage of the movie. It is the same producer of No-res: vida y muerte de un espacio en tres actas, on the demolition of Barcelona’s Colònia Castells neighborhood.
- The mayor of Barcelona presents an award for the directors, but they do not take it: ¿how can they accept it from the same hands that have caused all this story?
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].
- Jaime PALOMERA (2013) “How did finance capital infiltrate the world of the urban poor: home ownership and social fragmentation”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research [download pdf – article on Wiley]
- Photoreportage in Diagonal: “Infiernos y solidaridades en Ciudad Meridiana“
- Ciudad Meridiana PHOTO ALBUM by José Mansilla, 2013 (and one 1966 photo).
- Some more references: La Directa “Resistance in Eviction City” :: Lavanguardia.com “To invent or to eat?” :: elperiodico.com “Rice, oil and milk… or research and development?” :: Elpais.com “Ciudad desahucio” (eviction city), 20minutos “Villa desahucio” , Abc.com “Three evicted families establish in the squatted building”
- Links: Associació de Veins de Ciutat Meridiana :: Associació 500×20 Prou Especulacio :: Some questions to Associació 500×20 [in PDF]
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?
- José MANSILLA (2013) “Nunca nos fuimos. Frontera, Memoria y Resistencia en la Flor de Maig”, Paper delivered at III Jornades Doctorals d’Antropologia Social. University of Barcelona, June 5th and 6th, 2013. Barcelona.
- Webpage of Ateneu Flor de Maig :: Video of the day of the reopening :: Photos of the centenary on the webpage of the Historical Archive of Poblenou :: Sone history of the Ateneu on Històries del Poblenou webpage: part1 – part2
- Isaac MARRERO (2003) ¿Del Manchester catalán al SOHO barcelonés? La renovación del barrio del Poblenou en Barcelona y la cuestión de la vivienda.
- On the workers’ cooperatives in Barcelona: Marc DALMAU, Iván MIRÓ, Dolors MARÍN (2010), Les cooperatives obreres de Sants: autogestió proletària en un barri de Barcelona (1870-1939), Barcelona: La ciutat invisible.
- Our researches on Poblenou (2006): “El Pla de la Ribera: el veïnat contra la dictadura” :: Entrevistes a Can Ricart :: Video “Des del Ressentiment o la batalla de Can Ricart” :: Mapa de afectació de Can Ricart :: More posts on Poblenou
“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]
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.…
On february 9th, 2013, Todo por la praxis (TXP), a group from Madrid, organized the first of its programmed critic and photographic walks focused in the process of gentrification which is happening in Madrid’s city centre, specifically in the historic neighborhoods of Malasaña y Chueca. An enterprise of real estate developers, in need for new investments in an era of financial cuts and economic contraction, with support from the City Council, promoted a “programmed gentrification” of the area, which has been renamed Triángulo Ballesta (TriBall). The new triBall brand inspires from NYC’s business zones like SoHo and Tribeca, in an attempt to replace and erase the identity of this popular area of the city. “Gentrificatour intends to generate an archive of pictures of posters, labels and luminous of the commercial and productive activities that existed in the neighborhood before their replacement. […] The intention is to build a time-capsule that will allow us to evaluate the effects of a process of gentrification, and, in this way, to make them more visible” we read in TXP’s website. Victoria Herranz, photographer and anthropologist from Madrid, part of the group, explains: “Does Malasaña exist? Maybe; or maybe it exists in a different way. […] The line that divides the rehabilitation of a neighborhood from its destruction is too thin. When a process of rehabilitation limits the options of the neighbors to the point in which families have to leave the neighborhood, maybe something is going wrong”.
- Todo por la Praxis – webpage
- Anti-triball: critique, actions, reflections, images of the campaign organized by Agip-Pro collective from Patio Maravillas social center in Madrid. [WEBPAGE]
- “Gentrificatourtriball” on Paisaje transversal: negociación urbana para la transformación colectiva blog.
- Photo gallery: images taken during the last Gentrificatourtriball
- Elisabeth LORENZI (2010) “Centro social en movimiento. Los talleres de auto-reparación de bicicletas en espacios autogestionados” in Mario Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Martínez, Elísabeth Lorenzi, Okupaciones en Movimiento. derivas, estrategias y políticas. Madrid: Tierradenadie [ENLACE]
- Web of Bicios@s collective in Barcelona, and of bicitaller of "edificio 15O"
- web of the Critical Mass in Madrid: Bicicrítica
- The final presentation of "Shift Happens" in a bookshop in San Francisco will be on september 26th, the day of the anniversary, and will be part of a series of activities that will attract to the city cyclists from different places.