También había viviendas, entre los edificios demolidos para construir la Vila Olímpica

More about Barcelona’s Vila Olímpica

15/09/2016 admin 0
The Vila Olímpica is the biggest planned intervention of Barcelona in the 20th century. Its construction required the demolition of the old buildings and the eviction of its residents, as in the hygienist urban planning of the 19th century. However, some exiled memories survived the destruction, and come back to life whenever one of the evicted returns in his/her former neighborhood.
Foto: Paola Di Bello

Same old story in Milan: The destruction of Isola

07/08/2016 admin 0
In crossing the Isola neighborhood in Milan, whoever knows Barcelona suffers a kind of déja vu. The same buildings, the same companies, the same destruction as in Poblenou in 2004. Nouvel is replaced by Boeri, and the Universal Forum of Cultures with the Expo 2015.
Una pica al aire libre al lado de las obras. Foto: Lin Ye.

Life in the ruins of old Nanjing

30/10/2015 admin 0
The anthropologist Ye LIN invites us to look at the demolition of a neighborhood in Nanjing - very near to the spot in where the Youth Olympic Games were held in 2014. Ye studies the impact on the residents of the whole process, also highlighting how our idea of "community" influences the way we judge this kind of interventions.
Poblenou en 2006, foto de Horacio Capel. Para la referencia, haz click en la foto

The discreet urbanism of the bourgeoisie

05/10/2015 admin 0
As José Mansilla writes, in focusing on the rising, the growth and evolution of the middle class we understand how the so-called "progressive" urbanism in Barcelona took this turn to real estate speculation and privatizations. Will this process continue, or will we have the chance to see some change?
Las casas baratas de Bon Pastor, una de las últimas 'ciudades horizontales' de Europa. Foto Daniele Veneri.

Horizontal anthropology in the margins of Barcelona

30/03/2015 admin 0
Stefano Portelli's La ciudad horizontal (Bellaterra, 2015), a research on Bon Pastor's 'casas baratas': a neighborhood where no serious fieldwork can be led without getting involved, without challenging the existing barriers, without revealing clearly the aims behind the research itself. In this case, those are to influence urban planning, to stop the demolition of the neighborhood, and to demand an active role for the residents in the transformations of their territories.
Los bloques de Heygate, ya vaciados de gente y listos para demolir

Heygate Was Home!

14/03/2015 admin 0
The Heygate Was Home Digital Archive collects the testimony of several former residents of Heygate, social housing estate in Elephant & Castle, London - they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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The ghosts of San Berillo

21/03/2014 admin 0

Different cities follow one another on the same site and under the same name, writes Italo Calvino, born and dying without knowing one another, without communication among themselves. At time even the names of the inhabitants remain the same, and their voices’ accent, and also the features of the faces; but the gods who live beneath names and above places have gone off without a word and outsiders have settled in their place. It is pointless to ask whether the new gods are better or worse than the old, since there is no connection between them… We recommend you another Italian documentary movie: Edoardo Morabito and Irma Vecchio’s I fantasmi di San Berillo (2013), first prize at Torino Film Festival. The demolition of this old neighbourhood in the centre of Catania (Sicily), in 1958, was the biggest urban evisceration in post-war Italy, linked (as everything in the country) with Vatican’s Società Generale Immobiliare: 30.000 people where displaced towards the peripheries. It was the same year in which brothels were banned: prostitutes were forced to work underground, and what was left of San Berillo turned into one of the biggest “red light districts” of the Mediterranean. So the story of the neighbourhood went on for another half century, until 2001, when a new police operation evicted again prostitutes and transvestites from their houses and streets. Today many plots are still unoccupied, and some became new favelas (see this 2012 video). The documentary shifts visually from past to present, and the images are associated with the fascinating words of writer Goliarda Sapienza, born in San Berillo in 1924.

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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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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Homegrown cities: THIS is sustainable development!

21/06/2013 admin 0

The activists of URBZ collective (of which we wrote in a previous post) are promoting a crowdfunding campaign to develop a plot of land in the neighbourhood of Bhandup in the northwestern suburbs of Mumbai. Their intention is to build there an affordable house, compatible with local construction styles: “homegrown“, and produced in collaboration with local constructors. The house will be sold at reasonable conditions to residents, thus providing the funds for a new project. The idea is to contribute to develop better life conditions for the residents of the so-called “slums”, without depending on international aid or having to rely on NGOs. This homegrown development works against the logic of the big eviction and relocation projects promoted by the state: as happened too often, these top-down projects end up eradicating the population and forcing them into vertical housing blocks, which represent the degree zero of architectural, urban and social thinking, and have been responsible for countless man-made urban disasters in poor and rich countries alike.

Ruinas de un edificio en la playa de Jaffa, ahora parcialmente convertido en un museo sionista (foto: 1973)

Wastelands: Weizman on military urbanism

03/05/2013 admin 0
The spatial conflict over Palestine has re-articulated a certain principle: to be governed the territory must be constantly redesigned. This goes beyond a search for a stable and permanent “governable” colonial form, but rather points to the fact that it is through the constant transformation of space that this process of colonization has played out. Unpredictability and the appearance of anarchy are part of this violent logic of disorder.
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A photographic and critical “gentrificatour” in Madrid’s Malasaña neighborhood

01/03/2013 admin 0
Photo: Victoria Herranz, 2012. All rights reserved

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”.

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“Re-cordar” Can Ricart: to pass it back through the heart

01/09/2012 admin 0
Twelve years after the approval of "Plan 22@", two pieces of news show us the long-term impact of the displacement of factories from Poblenou neighborhood, and of its supposed urban renewal. The Mas Candle manifacturer closed in march, exactly five years after being removed from their old location in Can Ricart; in april, four people died in a fire of a shack close to the Jean Nouvel's new Parc Central [link here]. The words of Jaume Pagès, former administration manager of the factory, take us back to the sensations of that old battle we lost but we didn't forget. el desahucio "bueno, en primer lugar, te sientes echado, no querido, violentado. se rompe de pronto el universo ese repetitivo e invariable y, sin avisar, todo zozobra, nada parece real. incluso los cambios en el barrio, los derribos, no tienen ninguna connotación positiva, sólo resultaban amenazadores, tristes. trasladar una empresa es complicado. es decir, debería serlo, pq una empresa, por encima de todo, la forman personas. eso quiere decir q se trastorna –de pronto- toda la cosmogonía de tooodos los integrantes...
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Urban Typhoon: User-generated cities in Mumbai

07/08/2012 admin 0
Who is not frightened by the idea of the unstoppable growth of cities in Asia and in the former "third world", or by the perspective (apocalyptical, though critically framed) of moving towards a planet of slums? But in the places closer to this phenomenon - for example in the popular neighborhoods of Mumbai, India - the idea of slum has been criticized since many decades. These urban zones that don't even deserve being called neighborhoods, always presented towards the exterior as marked by lacks (of hygiene, of safety, of integration, of control, even of morality), under a deeper scrutiny reveal histories and dynamics complex and functional, that had been interpreted in various forms according to the different theories. Based in an office in Dharavi-Koliwada (the enormous neighborhood popularized by Slumdog millionaire), the two urban activists Matias ECHANOVE and Rahul SRIVASTAVA (from Urbz collective) show how a series of spontaneous social structures, internal to the so-called slums, cause a constant improvement and development, often obstructed by local authorities or by urban reform plans. In territories as thick and reticular as forests of mangroves, the only valid ways to development are those generated by their very users: homegrown, as the neighborhoods themselves.
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Recipes for interculturality from Bilbao

15/07/2012 admin 0
Arroces del Mundo, Munduko Arrozak, is a popular fiesta being held since 2004 in San Francisco neighborhood, Bilbao (Basque country) . This barrio, apart from the center for the estuary and the railway, is four times more populated than the rest of the city; it has always been stigmatized as a ghetto, related with prostitution, considered a marginal part of the city where the immigrant live, and recently is becoming to be partially gentrified. The fiesta is the result of a patient networking that the Coordinadora de Grupos de Bilbao la Vieja, San Fraencisco y Zabala had been doing for years: this organization was born to influence in the Renewal Plan designed by the City Council, and is made of groups and individuals who had already done projects of social communication in the neighborhood. The idea of the fiesta serves both to denounce the abandon of the neighborhood, and to aim at the construction of intercultural relationships through autonomy and self-organization: the organizers of the event stress that as many people are involved, as less conflicts and incidents ocurr - with the practice, this undermines the securitarian discourse used by the authorities to increase police presence in San Francisco neighborhood.
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