The right to the city and public space, understood as a communal life territory, is increasingly at risk. The rising cost of housing, the emptying-out of social centres and police violence as a form of social control are just some of the symptoms of growing privatisation. Such circumstances bring to light more sharply the need for a common space built to encompass the interests, needs and desires of the communities that inhabit it.
Opposite the capitalist concept of the city as a financial centre or tourist park built for consumerism, Situated Voices 28 seeks to articulate the foundations, from collectiveness, to reformulate concepts of property and belonging in relation to public space. How can we impact the desired city model? How can we reclaim, defend, attain, conquer or confer the right to the city? Who remains outside of this right? Who are legitimised for its reclamation and who are not? Who do we exclude and which divides (social, economic, gender-based, racial, among others) hinder its application? From institutions, how can we facilitate a participatory city based on asylum, reciprocity and mutual recognition?
In looking for the answers to these questions, this encounter is set out as a space for sharing experiences, tools and neighbourhood actions which search for channels of collective transformation. A conversation-discussion takes place in Madrid’s Lavapiés neighbourhood, prompting, from specific lived experiences, attendees to reflect on the right to the city and the possibilities of intervening in and reappropriating urban spaces.
This activity offers a children’s play centre organised by the collectives Esta es una plaza (This Is a Square) and Banco de Alimentos del Barrio (The Neighbourhood Food Bank) to facilitate work and childcare. Click on this link and fill out the form to sign up.
Mercedes Arce “Chiqui” is a librarian and a co-founder and current chairperson of Parque Sí Chamberí (Park for Me, Chamberí), a neighbourhood association which works to defend, advocate, promote and develop green areas and recreation in Madrid’s Chamberí neighbourhood. She also participated in making the documentary De interés general. Un barrio por un parque (Common Good. A Neighbourhood for a Park, 2021), by Miguel Ángel Sánchez Sebastián.
Jose Luis Fdez. Casadevante “Kois” is a sociologist, international food sovereignty expert at the International University of Andalusia (UNIA) and a member of the Garúa cooperative. He is also a neighbourhood activist, and is currently involved in promoting urban agriculture projects as the head of Huertos Urbanos (Urban Allotments) at the Regional Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM). Furthermore, he writes the blog Raíces en el asfalto (Roots on the Pavement)
Dolores Galindo Fontán is a journalist and researcher of social and cultural anthropology. She is the chairperson of Dragones de Lavapiés, a football club whose mission is to weave, through sporting values and competition, ties of solidarity, respect and community, advocating dialogue between people from more than fifty different countries.
Sara Porras Sánchez is a professor of Sociology at the Complutense University of Madrid. She works as a researcher on different research projects in the Community of Madrid, analysing urban processes and conflicts and the importance of socio-community networks in the configuration of neighbourhoods and in creating social space.
Eduardo Ramis is an anthropologist and a member of the Pasillo Verde Imperial Neighbourhood Association, one of the member collectives in the platform #YoDefiendoEsteÁrbol (#IDefendThisTree), which came into being to protect trees and green areas under threat from the project to expand Metro de Madrid’s Line 11 in five areas of the city (Arganzuela, Carabanchel, Moratalaz, Puente de Vallecas and Retiro).