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Accepted Paper:

The day before revitalization: hidden spatial practices and hidden expectations towards future within community living inside Horse Racetrack Sluzewiec in Warsaw  
Barbara Bossak-Herbst (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation discusses the attitudes towards top-down project of revitalization within marginalized professional community living in walled, monumental settlement. Findings are based on the ethnographic research collected for the first monography of this troublesome 140 ha enclave in the heart of Warsaw.

Paper long abstract:

Built with the private money and opened in summer 1939, modernistic Racetrack Sluzewiec possessed stables for 700 horses and social housing for their trainers, jockeys and stable personnel. After World War II polish racetracks and horse breeding were nationalized.

For decades, behind the six kilometers long concrete wall, beyond market rules, in almost autarkic social and economic conditions the close-knit community of workers, with rural origins, has developed. In the meantime the place became surrounded by residential and industrial vivid districts of the capital. The mainstay of modernity turned into the mainstay of rusticity.

In 89' enrolment into register of monuments and transferring the inalienable right of property to the state, have successfully blocked the sale of the land. However horseracing lost their popularity.

Since the transformation, due to the deficiency of affluent horse owners and mediocre interest from administrating State Treasury Company, the place is falling into degradation in many respects. Several buildings stay empty, many time past green areas are running wild. Local people have developed unique multiplicity of grassrooted usages of them and own mikrotoponymy.

Nowadays the administrator has “revitalization” plan. It permits evictions of people and horses, liquidation of training track. The horse people behave passive in face of that. In my research I was interested in their attitudes towards they turf. How they refer, evaluate and what are their expectation towards they natural area? I will also try to consider how they silenced experiences could be included in revitalization process.

Panel P076
Empowering the silenced memories: grassroots practices in urban revitalization politics
  Session 1