May 23, 2015

Alimentando otros modelos: cultivar entre las ruinas de la crisis

by José Luis Fernández Casadevante, Kois* Según Naciones Unidas los huertos comunitarios son una buena práctica de sostenibilidad urbana. El auge de la agricultura en nuestras ciudades es un símbolo del cambio de ciclo económico, la efervescencia social y las iniciativas de autoorganización ciudadana. En nuestro libro “Raíces en el asfalto” reivindicamos la huertopía (hortus+topos), un lugar en el que los huertos echen raíces en el corazón de las ciudades. Más de una treintena de solares han sido reconvertidos en huertos comunitarios por entidades vecinales y […]
February 19, 2015

Empty living: inhabiting the residues of Spain’s urbanisation tsunami

by Melissa Garcia Lamarca The bust of Spain’s real estate boom has left 3.4 million empty housing units across the country. By ‘inhabiting’ empty or unfinished housing units, Agustín Ortiz Herrera’s Empty Living project underlines the contradictions and consequences of the housing boom and the frustrations generated by its failure. Over seven years ago, Spain’s real estate boom busted, a boom that the long-time environmental activist and critical thinker Ramón Fernández Durán termed the urbanisation tsunami. The facts from this period of real estate monoculture […]
January 16, 2015

Lessons from the Collectivisation of Aigües de Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939)

After almost eight decades the story of the collectivisation of Aigües de Barcelona during the time of the Spanish Civil War emerges as highly insightful given today’s context of European crisis and the parallel worldwide trend towards re-municipalisation of water management. *
December 8, 2014

Barcelona, the dead city

  Underneath the attractive brand of Barcelona we find corruption, racism and impunity, from the police to the legal and administrative system. In the documentary Ciutat Morta we discover how undesirable citizens are expendable within an urban-touristic model that cannot be disturbed.
November 28, 2014

Emotions in struggle: reflections on militant/activist research processes

by Melissa Garcia Lamarca I can’t sleep at night, in fact I’m taking sleeping pills regularly, but my dreams are filled with children grasping on to me for help. The other day one of my comrades (compañeros) sent a foreign television crew to our squatted building for an interview, which was not supposed to last very long. But it went on for two hours. And they wanted to see my old house, where I was evicted from three years ago. I hadn’t been back since, […]
November 13, 2014

Diarrhoea and sanitation: let’s get over “panacea” approaches to disease

by Panagiota Kotsila About a year ago, journalist Rose George gave a TED-talk about sanitation and diarrhoea in which she invited people to “talk crap, seriously” and got almost 1.5 million views. Today, after four years of researching this topic, I realize we need to question George’s speech. It is indeed a frustrating reality that she is drawing attention to: “diarrheal disease kills more children than AIDS, tuberculosis and measles disease do, together”. This is happening despite the fact that there exist ways to prevent […]
October 28, 2014

Landscape politics of ‘swiftlet farming’ in George Town, Malaysia

by Creighton Conolly — This post originally appeared on Season 3 of the LSE Cities Blog ‘Urban Vignettes’ on October 27th, 2014. — Since September last year I have been conducting fieldwork for my doctoral research on urban birds’ nest harvesting (or ‘swiftlet farming’) in Malaysian cities – a fiercely debated topic in the country over the past 15 years. Edible birds’ nests are considered a Chinese delicacy and are a common ingredient in Chinese medicines, consequently attracting staggeringly high prices in Chinese market places […]
October 2, 2014

Connecting past and present socio-ecological struggles: The "Barceloneta Cooperative Memory Project"

by Irmak Ertör, Melissa Garcia Lamarca and Santiago Gorostiza Barceloneta is one of the most charismatic neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona. It has a powerful history of cooperatives run autonomously by their workers and inhabitants. The history of the neighbourhood—its name meaning ‘little Barcelona’—dates back to the 18th century. It was previously inhabited by fishermen and maintaining its strong relation with the sea. Nowadays, however, it is undergoing rapid transformation. “A fishermen neighbourhood” is an expression currently used as one of the thousand slogans […]