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.

Crossing the capital of culture: summer in Marseille

26/08/2016 admin 0
What happened with the Euromediterranée, an ambitious project that costed over 3,5 billion euros, and that transformed 480 hectars? Can we get rid of it by simply calling it gentrification? A commentary by two Italian planners, R. Marchini & A. Sotgia.

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.
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Second International Conference on Anthropology and Urban Conflict

13/08/2014 admin 0

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…”.

We have always been a frontier: Icària neighbourhood, before becoming the Vila Olìmpica

17/07/2014 admin 0
How were the popular neighbourhoods of Barcelona in the Eighties? Those of us who weren't lucky enough to know Barcelona before the Olympic Games, now have few chances of catching something of that life before tourism, of that glory before fame. We had been looking for this document for years, and finally our comrade Gabriela Navas Perrone found it, nothing less than in Barcelona's Institute of Archeology (sic!): the study "Historia y vida cotidiana, el barrio de Icària, futura Vila Olímpica", youth work of the anthropologist Concha DONCEL, who in 1988, under a commission of Vila Olímpica 92 S.A. interviewed the inhabitants of the neighbourhood of Icària, now disappeared, taking witness of the existence of a cosy and familiar landscape in that area threatened by eviction since 1965's Plan de la Ribera.
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WHOSE megaevents?

11/07/2013 admin 0

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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Once we made news: the forgotten battles

21/06/2012 admin 0
It is been decades now that in Barcelona whole neighborhoods are demolished without the media even mentioning them any more. If someday these situations "made news", soon oblivion covers back their memory. A recent example was Can Tunis neighborhood, whose demolition was surrounded by silence in summer 2004; but in 1993, another neighborhood in the same Zona Franca district, the cases barates of Eduard Aunós fell leaving almost no trace in the city collective memory. The media were too busy celebrating the success of the Olympic Games, as well as years later they were covering the 2004 Universal Forum of Cultures. A group of former inhabitants of Eduard Aunós have found this old reportage: it reminds us a forgotten battle, astonishingly similar to the one now taking place around the demolition of anouther group of cases barates: Bon Pastor. Someday, this one too will be forgotten.
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The Pinheirinho massacre

31/01/2012 admin 0
In the morning of january 22nd, 2012, 2000 military police broke into the Pinheirinho settlement in Sao Paulo (Brasil) with helicopters, tanks, horses, tear gases, and began the eviction. Almost 10.000 people had been living there for about 8 yeras; they had just regularized their housing titles. But the eviction was promoted by a company whose director fled the country in 1990 for finantial crimes, and that now needs the land to speculate, keeping them empty. In preparation of 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, some 170.000 people are under eviction all around Brasil. Residents of Pinheirinho strenuously resisted the eviction, that ended with 7 dead, and tens of wounded and arrested. Public houses had been promised to the evicted, now stacked in churches or gyms; but "those in charge of building social houses are part of the same bloodthirsty, prejudiced and deceitful elites as the governants..."
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Istanbul, a city without limits. Documentary movie

15/11/2011 admin 0
"In Istanbul, we crossed the ecological limits, crossed the population limits, crossed the ecological limits. If you ask me where it is all going to lead, I will quote from Doğan Kuban: chaos" Mücella Yapıcı, chamber of architecture of Istanbul.
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Photos: Barcelona’s Montjuïc

11/04/2011 admin 0

Four photos of Montjuïc mountain, when there still were people living on it. Even if for history it was only “slums”, many of them remember houses, written records, roads and street numbers. These photos come from private collections of former residents of “Eduardo Aunós” neighborhood. The old slum dwellers, almost all of them from Murcia or Andalusia, had to leave their houses in the 1920s, because of the celebration of an Universal Exposition. They were relocated in the Casas Baratas, but then their sons and nephews were evicted again at the end of the century. The need for land hit again those immigrant families; and it doesn’t matter how many generation they had been living in their “welcoming land”.…

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The “Bachillera” and the struggle against gentrification in Seville

20/02/2011 admin 0
Just as in Barcelona, gentrification arrived to Seville in the eighties, when the city began to prepare for Expo '92. But the struggles and mobilization against real estate speculation didn't begin until the decade of 2000. The Bachillera, a neighborhood of self-constructed houses in Macarena district, historically was in the outskirts of the city, but with the Expo entered in a "new central area". Residents own the houses, but the lands belongs to the Sevillan Charity Association, who wanted to demolish the entire neighborhood. The initial demolition plan was blocked through the collaboration of neighbors and activists/technicians, that managed to get involved in a rehabilitation project for the neighborhood. Neighborhood assemblies were held, then participative workshops, door-to-door enquiries, a consensual diagnosis of the neighborhood, and even a 15 days occupation in the headquarters of the Sevillan Charity Association.

Istanbul: living in voluntary and involuntary exclusion

19/09/2010 admin 0
During 2005-2010 there have been about 1 million evictions in Istanbul. The residents of gecekondus are evicted to enormous public housing estates in the extreme periphery, where they are hit by intents to "civilize" and normalize the population - almost always Kurdish, Roma, Armenians or low-class Turkish.
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Naples, 2013 Forum of Cultures

13/08/2010 admin 0
"The first edition of the Forum of Cultures, in Barcelona in 2004, was a failure: the ambitious program of cultural events served only as a cover for a huge speculative operation on the popular neighborhood of Poblenou and on the city coast. In the same way in Naples, Forum 2013 will be the Trojan horse through which heavily revalorize for tourism and real estate the city's historical center and the area of Bagnoli, speeding up the expulsion of the low-income classes towards the peripheries, and to increase constructions on the coast of Coroglio".