Accepted Paper:

Creative acts and social movements for the right to live in Madrid  


Eva Youkhana (University of Bonn)

Paper short abstract:

Against neoliberal urbanism creative forms of protest experience a renaissance. Cities are shaped by squatting, protest-camps and street art against commercialization, control, displacement. At the example of Madrid, it is shown how urban forms serve in struggles for the right to the city.

Paper long abstract:

Madrid is undergoing an urban transformation process. Economic growth primarily backed by the real estate and service sectors has introduced the city as an international hub for business and commerce. To demonstrate the new centrality neoliberal urban governance strategies such as revaluation and progressive tertiarisation transform the historic city center to an arena for consumption, urban spectacle and tourism. At the same time demographic pressure and segregation reconfigure the dynamics of the socio-spatial urban fabric.

Against the backdrop of neoliberal urbanism creative forms of protest have experienced a worldwide renaissance in recent years. The cities' public spaces are increasingly shaped by its symbolic appropriation through squatting, protest-camps and stencils conveying political messages against commercialization, control and displacement. But how is agency produced by those people who are widely excluded from decision making? Which role does the public urban space play for the production of belonging and the construction of a social collective? Giving the example of Madrid, it is shown how urban forms that shape and reflect power relations serve the urban dwellers in their everyday struggles for the right to the city. The paper also illustrates how solidarity networks and a culture of protest are built by acts of citizenship during the real estate and subprime crisis.

Panel Urba01
Urban development from below