Auto-construction: for an autonomy of housing

04/09/2018 admin 0
John F. C. Turner (*1927) is an English architect known for its engagement with the study and practice of self-construction. He was influenced by Patrick Geddes and anarchism, he studied in London's Architectural Association, and very soon developed an interpretation of planning and architecture that does not overlook the relationship with its users

The second earthquake

31/07/2018 admin 0
"Emidio di Treviri" is a working group performing research action in the areas hit by the 2016-2017 earthquake in central Italy. They are showing how the political management of post-catastrophe housing, consumption, health, are increasing social inequalities to the point of creating a social earthquake, even worse than the real one.

Knowledge is in the neighborhoods

23/10/2017 admin 0
Neighborhoods are the collective ability of people to acknowledge the existence of the other. No surprise they are constantly under attack. With them, also the knowledge they represent are attacked, and the words and concepts that in neighborhoods are born and grow.

The city and the skin: public space and pudic space

06/08/2017 admin 0
The skin is the deepest thing there is. The fissures of the skin, the striate wrinkles of the flesh, reveal the word and the action. In the entrails of the streets, in the corners of the small alleys, urban life palpitates in revenge against urban planning.
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Where is the new urban frontier?

24/07/2015 admin 0

An international conference on Global capitalism and urban regeneration, as an homage to the great marxist geographer Neil Smith, that left us some years ago. Where do they hold it? At the MACBA, the Museum of contemporary art built in the Raval in the beginning of the 1990s. Like Columbia in Harlem, like La Sapienza in San Lorenzo, like the Centre Pompidou in Les Halles, and like many other cultural institution in neighborhoods “in regeneration”, the MACBA represented the beginning of the new urban colonization in the heart of Barcelona. As to say: when space says more than words, when the container quarrels with the contents. But at the same time, calling for the need to transcend the pain and remember the history at the same time. As Miquel Martí i Pol says: vam girar full temps ha, i alguns s’entesten / en llegir encara la mateixa plana (1980) [we turned the page some time ago, and there’s people who keep reading the same old page].

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On with more dichotomies!

11/07/2015 admin 0

A brief note on a recent debate within the field of radical geography, which opposed Simon Springer, anarchist, and David Harvey, marxist. Each one defends his own position: Simon maintains that radical geography must be anarchist; David answers it’s not true, that it should be (or can be) marxist; Simon replies that Harvey didn’t get the point. The debate is interesting, up to a point, and shows how there are mortgages of the past for which not even the PAH will get forgiveness. Anyway, it highlights that critical geography is in an interesting moment, and that some debates that were important are reproducing themselves in the studies of space. We hope that the shifting grounds of the present will help to make possible what nobody managed to do in the past.

Taking the occasion, we point out that the Seventh Congress in Critical Geography will be held in Ramallah, Palestine, from July 25th to 30th (2015), under the title of “Precarious radicalism in shifting grounds: towards a politics of possibility”.

  • Simon Springer “Why a radical geography must be anarchist”, Dialogues in Human Geography, 2014, 4:249-270. (here for members, or on academia)
  • David Harvey “Listen Anarchist”, 2015 (on his blog)
  • Simon Springer “The limits to Marx: David Harvey and the condition of postfraternity” (on academia)
  • Katherine Gibson “Thinking around what a radical geography ‘must be'”, forthcoming in Dialogues in Human Geography (on communityeconomies)
  • Webpage of Ramallah’s International Congress on Critical Geography (ICCG)!

How to put an end to gentrification

11/02/2015 admin 0
Those who want to study the city with a critical approach, can never leave aside the struggle in defence of the concept of gentrification, constantly under attack by capitalism and its thugs. The thesis that the substitution of the former inhabitants of the neighborhoods by wealthier sectors is not so bad, or not so common, it's found where you least expect it; we can never let down our guard, and we have to keep emphasizing the viable alternatives. We want to contribute to these reflections with three interesting links:
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Second International Conference on Anthropology and Urban Conflict

13/08/2014 admin 0
The president of OACU showing off in Rio, barefoot.

After the success of the First International Conference on Anthropology and Urban Conflict in Barcelona in november 2012, the second conference is being hold now in Rio de Janeiro, and organized together by Barcelona-based OACU and Rio de Janeiro’s Laboratorio de Etnografia Metropolitana. As posted on the Conference’s webpage, “Just as the catalan experience of 1992 Olympic Games was frequently pointed as the source of inspiration for the current context in Rio, the academic production of brazilian and foreign researchers is allowing us to challenge the very construction of the “Barcelona model”, by showing its perverse social impacts which are the results of the processes of the internationalization and mercantilization of cities…”.

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The control over space, and the spaces of control: XIII Conference of Geocrìtica

18/04/2014 admin 0
Orwell square under CCTV surveillance: a real "trip"!

From may 5th to 10th, 2014, the International conference “El control del espacio y los espacios de control”, will be held in the University of Barcelona, organized by the review Geocrítica; with the linked reviews ScriptaNova and Biblio3w, this is one of the most important and interesting publication on urban issues in the whole spanish-speaking area. The conference is public and admission free of charge; we suggest these sessions, in which some members of our OACU group will be involved: may 6th, Ocupación del espacio y control de los individuos at 9am, Segregación social y urbana a at 6.30pm; may 9th, Organización económica, poder y control at 9am, Cambios en las formas de control at 4pm.

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Towards a glossary of new urban rhetorics

16/09/2012 admin 0
The last number of the review "Lo Squaderno" analyses some of the keywords in the new urban rhetorics: an articulation of the neoliberal newspeak from which Loïc Wacquant and Pierre Bourdieu warned us more than 10 years ago. Expressions like "vibrant city", "common goods", "mixité", "integration", "creativity", and obviously "citizen participation" are recurring terms in the lexicon of urban policies, serving as excuses for conducts contradictory with the original sense of the words that compose them (like we stressed in our work A Barcelona la participación canta). A series of academical and non-academical scholars discuss these rhetorical constructions bringing examples from Naples, Boston, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Vancouver, and, of course, Barcelona. The issue is illustrated with Rosario Kuri's reportage Barcelona bordes irregulares we linked in a previous post. Download Lo Squaderno n.25 here (italian - english).
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Suburbs according to Reclús

11/06/2012 admin 0
The suburbs, according to the anarchist geographer Elisée Reclús (1830-1905), are not places of exclusion in which are confined those who can't afford to live in the city center. On the contrary, the margins, the periphery, were for him the ideal spaces to develop ways of life closer to nature, without losing the relationship with the hustle and bustle of the city (Reclús had been involved in Paris Commune), but out of the insane density of the metropolis. Reclús lived the last half of his adult life in the suburbs, claiming the last urban fringes as places that permit to break the gap between nature and the city; a central problem for the geographers and urbanists of his time, especially the ecologists and anarchists (Patrick Geddes, Lewis Mumford and, in Catalonia, Cebrià de Montoliu).