About our capacity of politic imagination for public space
About our capacity of politic imagination for public space
Text presented to the VII Congreso Internacional de Ordenación del Territorio (VII CIOT). Madrid, November 2014
The works referred in the text are in the presentation, prepared for that congress.
- Fromcitizenshipto civility.
In the last years many of the of the cities of the Spanish states have been implementing “civical” laws: laws that make difficult, among other thigs, the activities that can be carried out in the public space, and that, in fact, have conducted to its privatization, ESPECTACULARIZACIÓN, and fall in the use of fundamental space of meeting and policy in the city.
According to the law and under threat of being fined, many of the activities that are part of the daily lives in our cities: so, to say, are not restricted or defined as the sporadic activities that may take place (concerts, protests, big concentrations) but rather regulate activities as common as hanging the clothes out to dry, kissing, playing ball, drinking alcohol, playing music, etc., etc.
These “civism” appeared as an ideology in the post-Olympic Barcelona, created to be theme park itself since the mid-90´s. Paradoxically, as theme park of the Mediterranean city and of the “anything goes” that it is, it suffers destruction from the hands of the same tourists that is devoted to, those that come to the city to do what they expect from it: since walking shirtless or bare-footed to get drunk and high. It is very telling the pictures that the tourists took of themselves celebrating the disturbs in favor of street drinking in Rambla del Raval in 20061
That ideology could be observed with increased force in Bilbao (another city eager to change skin, and also soul, during the first decade of the XX) and later in Granada. It is in this last city where “civism” has been most restrictive and violent, also because is the city that is most serious and efficient in its application. It seems as it would not be enough for its council the city´s old identity marks: the Arabic and university tradition, the mountain or its cultural life.
“Civism” came to substitute and increase the more reactionary aspects of citizenship: a mixture of “good feelings”, “common sense”, “living together”, “respect”, and, overall, a restriction of possibilities achieved by cutting the desirable to the shape of what anexemplary and surreal middle class white family, needs in theory to live a happy and calm life. Outside that there is only chaos, injustice and egoism on the side of all of those that are different, may be beggars or drunks, musicians or protesters, old people or children, the disabled…If during the 90s the public space was denounced by that same inexistent family that escaped to the shopping mall, the city of the present has decided to become a Shopping mall to be able to “attract” that consumerist family.
Luckily Madrid urbanism hasn´t been dominated by the “civism”, and neither by the numerous physical and legal reforms that Gallardón, the mayor, carried out during his eight years of mandate: the areas of Montreal, Arsenal and Sol, the zone of Triball, Luna and Callao, as well as a big part of Lavapies and Tetuán districts, as well as many other squares in the city center that have also been reformed, but without achieving -due to reasons that are too complex to expose in this document- its original objective of getting rid of its local inhabitants, being them beggars, prostitutes, street drinkers or “botelloneros”, people that do drugs, people that sell pirate products or the rest of unwanted people for the conservative government of Madrid during the last 25 years.
The increment in the presence of the “manteros”, has been without any doubt one of features that made the public space of Madrid more “African”. Not only due to the origin of many of those sellers, but also because of the density of the informal selling and because of the people that use the public space as the living room that they don´t have at their homes, both typical features of the esthetic of the African city.
As we´ll see soon, it seems that taking these people out of the “imperfections” that were still in the square, was one of the reasons why Puerta del Sol became a continuous space shaped like a big plain.
- Precedents: El Forat de la Vergonya.
The documentary El Forat2 explains in detail the process that made possible during several years, that the only different place in the center of Barcelona could exist.
The story is simple: a whole block of flats of Ribera neighborhood is demolished, as part of the reform plan for that “degraded” neighborhood, in which the fantastic Mercat of Santa Caterina from the architecture study EMBT is the pearl.
The construction of an underground parking is planned, but the space (the “forat” in Catalan) stays surrounded by a fence and the works are paralyzed for months. By the end of 2001 the neighborhoods put a Christmas Tree that is retired by the police forces, which ends in the invasion and the appropriation of the space.
In those 5.000 m² and during the next 5 years a local management process by the neighbors took place, spatial as well as constructive and political: a football field, several orchards, urban furniture for different uses, swings for the kids, a drinkable water fountain and a scenery for the celebration of a Flamenco festival that in the following editions gained notoriety, are all constructed.
But besides that, is organized by a society of neighbors that take care of each other, that know each other (obviously, since the neighborhood is small and densely populated), but who also get along well. Immigrant communities and the local inhabitants, gypsies and rustics and OKUPAS of several houses, help each other to build in that “shameful hole” a Square, that still exists while the pace of the drastic reforms in the neighborhood keeps on going.
The municipality of the Ciudad Condal, always repressive, snaps at them in a fight that ends in October 2006 with the square empty once again, and surrounded by the local police forces, the Mossos de Esquadra.
After the expulsion, the planned underground parking is built, and above it the same elements that already existed are reconstructed, only that this time is in a “law-abiding”, “official”, “legal” way. The aspect of the square is mainly the same, only that now it lacks life. At least the sand soil of the square was preserved (sine qua non condition of the negotiations between the neighborhoods and the City Council after the expulsion), a distinctive feature that made of this square the only one that still has a sand soil of all of them in the center of Barcelona.
- At the beginning, it was drinking in the street.
By the middle of the 90s, Spain was a stable country, devoted to the idea suggested by the PP. Only a few countries would survive to the Second Spanish miracle, and even the conflicts about the defense of the territory and opposition to war, that would be so popular during the next decade, by the time were not still present in the agenda of civil society.
In that, during the middle of the 90s some youth groups started to get together to drink alcohol in the streets, despite not being in holiday season. During spring and summer, trailing after the big celebrations in provincial capitals (Fallas, San Fermín, fairs in Andalucía, etc.) the youth was changing the bars in favor of the street, and the classic “litrona” or beer that used to be drunk in a bench for several dozens of red wine and cola, “kalimotxo”, or by a bottle of strong alcohol (vodka, rum or whisky, you choose), a 2l fizzy drink bottle, a bag of ice and a place visited by thousands of young people. This phenomenon was named “botellón”.
Although is not easy to pick a date from which started to become a massive event, it is in fact remarkable that the summer of 1997, with its severe droughts, become everlasting, which drove people to “do botellón” in Madrid even in the winter.
This activity became the only form of night leisure for many of us that were young during that time, and in a nightmare for the authorities, that watched how several parks in the city became rubbish dumps every Sunday morning.
The “botellón” during winter also included lighting fires: everything available was burned (tetra bricks, bottles, cardboard, wood…). Today is really difficult to grasp how the practice of starting a fire between several dozens of people became a regular activity, apart from the fires in San Juan´s night, that since they are in the list of “traditional celebrations”, somehow are not regulated by Civil Law.
Already in 2006 in Basurama we gave a talk in which we spoke of the Botellón as a “creative way of reutilizing degraded (public) spaces” in the 1st International Youth Congress. It may be that this way of using the public space is “legitimate patrimony” of our generation (the ones that were born in the 80s).
The prohibition of the “alcohol dispositive” (there are few cities in Spain in which is possible to buy alcohol after ten at night) however, this doesn´t change the urge to be in the street. Could be that the amount of rubbish in the areas in which botellón takes place has diminished, but the phenomena is still alive. Th limit of “what is possible” in the street is boundlessly elastic, as the most varied and popular celebrations in the Spanish territory show.
After botellón, the well-known “neighbors complains” (for sure the shadiest political lobby of our time) are now directed towards the exponential growth of bar terraces. These now share the space with the “lateros”, street sellers that quickly have broken the law, and being more versatile and efficient than the State, offer a non-negotiable service: a can of cold beer to your hand for only one euro. Nowadays, like in the 90s the “alcoholic use” of the public space is the same that the one derived from the botellón. only that the current economic management is different.
- Madrid and La Noche en Blanco 2010.
What is the difference between a tennis match in Gran Vía organized by Nike and the one organized by ourselves? We asked this question to all the artists that we had the luck to be curators with during La Noche en Blanco 2010.
The answer is simple: the control.
In the match by Nike, everything is under control. Either Nadal or Federer can win, but nothing out of the script is going to happen. However, in the public art conceived by us is mandatory than the participant is also creator of the artwork, as because of their co-creator condition the can take ownership of it. And thus, of also the situation and the context, which will immediately make that we won´t know how and if we can face what is going to happen there. In La Noche en Blanco everything would have to be technically controlled beforehand, despite knowing than a million people by the street cannot be 100% controlled.
Public space was one of the central axis of the policy implemented by Major Gallardón, not only the reform of its space and the legislation, also its collective imaginary: from Christmas lights to the definition of what is a popular celebration and what is not (the best example are the celebrations of 2nd of May in Malasaña neighborhood), the representativeness of some buildings (for example the change of the headquarters of the Council), which includes “cleaning”, “silencing”, and many other areas of urban culture.
As part of its typically dichotomic policy, Gallardón impulsed the constructions of the PAUs, a kind of city that doesn´t take into consideration public space, which Basurama has studied as part of the realization of the exhibition Basurama Panoramic in the year 2006. In those urban designs were also exaggerated the two big topics of public space: size and square meters. To exist, a street needs much more than that. On the other hand, in the center of the city the contemporary public space was finally defined and built with the objective in mind to convert it into a resource to be rented.
This is a city that adopted like any other the urge and the dogma of becoming a “Global City”, so consumerism was imposed as a way organizing and regulating the thinking of public life. In the public spaces reformed by Gallardón, all kinds of events, more or less bland, are still taking place. The reason why they are bland is because they are controlled and consumer-oriented events (both of brands or of public space), despite the mutation they experience as the years go by to adapt themselves to some of the “new” trends.
Our experience, as well as many Madrid citizens, was living many street events: the traditional Cabalgata de Reyes became a parade of leviathan proportions, Gay Pride parade became one of the biggest in the world, invading the city center for seven days, the old MAPOMA (Maratón Popular de Madrid) grew and developed in many popular races every Sunday during spring.
Besides, we lived massive marches and protests (11-M, NO to War) as well as the most diverse publicity stands: Three Wise Men and Papa Noel at the doors of public malls, a snowboard installation in a centric square of Madrid, the celebration of the 2008 Eurocope, an artificial beach and several “Olympic festivals to celebrate” the reunions of the IOC, besides several “underground” phenomena, like the first flash mobs, la Bici Crítica (The critical bicycle), the Ciclonudista or the festival Madrid Abierto. Etc., etc.
This way, some of the projects that we curated in Noche en Blanco 2010 pretended not to be fair barracks more or less sophisticated in front of which the public queue to see or to enjoy an attraction, rather they intended to be a sketch of something institutional: a management and relationship system among people.
These kinds of institutionalism shaped the space, and at the same time were shaped by the space. These institutions were designed specifically for its space, environment and its user and pretended to be platforms that could be used and taken ownership by everyone. They were not a game machine or a machine to interact with in which you have to follow a rule or a path to get some fun out of it or an specific benefit, they were rather platforms that promoted new relations, as we understand that the city could be enjoyed through our curating proposals.
If each space involves an institution and each institution demands a space, the time we are living, the city and the society that we want needs of new infrastructures in which new relationships can take place. If a space, doesn´t matter how imaginative and surprising, doesn´t matter how effective is it in producing relations, societies and policies, is unable to imagine new institutions, once again, we will be decorators of the barrack that the power lends us to protect us from the elements.
So, spatial imagination is useless if it doesn´t go together with imagination to design institutions. In a constantly recursive process, the space has to be able to help us to imagine institutions, and those new institutions should in turn demand new spaces.
Before a handful of illuminati (in the best sense of the word) would decide that “here what is needed is a public space” (as it is told in 15M.cc) and would be ready to sleep in Puerta del Sol the night of May 15, 2011, and this way inaugurate at that them moment the most important political movement in Spain of the last decades, Madrid had seen two camping protests.
For more than a year (Between 2000 and 2001) workers from Sintel, a phone infrastructure company that Telefónica had led to bankruptcy, slept in Paseo de la Castellana, around the building of the Ministry of Industry. There they built what they denominated Campamento de la Esperanza (Hope Camp), a city of thousands of inhabitants completely built out of re-used materials, with a social organization and many programs running destined to entertain, feed, wash and reunite the many works that had travelled from their cities to stay in Madrid until they could receive a solution, that finally (although only partially) achieved.
After watching its remarkable example (they even used nails that were 100% reutilized from pallets) in the impressive El efecto Iguazú8 we invited them to participate in the festival Basurama03, the first festival that we designed with the planning to invite those that grabbed our interest.
The other camping was also a highlight for our generation: The “Acampada of the 0,7%”, an initiative that demanded a 0,7% from the GDP to be destined to development cooperation, constituted by every kind of social organizations, that during autummn and winter of 1996 camped in Paseo de la Castellana, without achieving its aim. In that one, the local lider was the very well-known today Pablo Iglesias and many of us learnt to “poner el cuerpo” (to put the body” in the most basic way.
Those youngster that slept for five weeks in Puerta del Sol were not demanded by works “real democracy NOW”, they rather exercise it among themselves. We do not think it is relevant to add the fact that the establishment of the camps followed the model of Tahrir Square in Cairo, which shocked the world in February 2011. The initial impulse for @acampadasol assumes as possible an African way of thinking, which of course overflows our European way of thinking. Obviously, “the Spanish square” is adapted to the uses and costumes of the youth, that, for example, have filled up festival camping areas. Besides a city prototype -with its shape and central institutions, its order, its streets, etc.-, the camping protests that took place in several cities of the State during that spring and summer of 2011 were a prototype of democracy, so to say a prototype of citizenry, supposing that a city is a way to establish relations between people.
In those temporal cities, took place totally unsuspected fundamental operations of civism (in the most classic and convivial sense of the word, the less reactionary), such as being careful, abiding by the timetables, physical protection among equals, as well as a service of organization and order to treat conflicts, that naturally appear in every society that is minimally complex.
All these even without the subsidiary intervention of the cleaning service Selur (Servicio de Limpieza Urgente), that instrument of Madrid municipality administration that excuses itself behind the environment in order to control, direct and restrict the public space, through the sanctity of “cleaning” streets and squares, moral and political mandatory objective of every Christian society.
All the traditional institutions of the State demonized those camping protests during the 100% of the time they lasted, aware of the earthquake that “the city inside the city” meant for the status quo of Spanish society. What can be said, thought and made possible were so radically expanded that until every one of their limits are not explored, 15-M can’t be considered over. They were demonized precisely by all of the things that they didn´t do: behave in the same way as the society they were substituting: they weren´t dirty, they weren´t a space to do “botellón” or to party, they weren´t noisy…They weren´t even consumerist or individualistic, which are the two inescapable pillars of our time.
In the political replicas of that earthquake -institutions such the PAH, the neighborhood meetings and the thousands of work groups of all the urgent matters for the Spanish society- this same wish of a city is present, as well as in their spatial replicas. During the last years, several “public spaces self-managed by the citizenry” have been working successfully: El Campo de Cebada, Esta es una plaza, Can Batlló, el Solar Corona, autoBarrios, Subcrustal, all the orchards of the Red de Huertos Urbanos de Madrid and many other spaces with less impact in the media or in congresses such as this one.
Those spaces give a defined shape to the community, the society and the politics that every public space should have. Everything that happens there, whether they are massive events of activities that range from sport, agroecological communal cultivation or city people that go there “to do nothing”, it means an action towards the officialpublic spaces and an amendment to the management policy of the city and the lack of political and technical imagination regarding the use of public space.
But if these spaces are not more than space that gather some people to participate in them (so to say, if they do not reach to the rest of the city), then they become some sort of shelters in contrast to the shopping mall that effectively is taken by those consumerist middle-class families.
- Sol, let´s think!
The fact that the story is well-know doesn´t make it less shady and incredible: some day a viral image starts circulating really quickly through the internet, an image of Puerta del Sol with a chiringuito and a 300m² terrace. Supposedly that is the new project the new local government, lidered by the major Ana Botella, has reserved for Puerta del Sol. A solution that is halfway between the needed to collect money through renting available public space and the need to control the multiple protests, both set up and spontaneous after 15-M movement, that had chosen the square as its talisman and heart (like for example the person that waited for the verdict of IOC about 2020 Olympic Games while hanging from a street light).
It seemed to be the classic maneuver of the PP governments, presenting with an outrageous situation just to shove down our throats a lesserevil afterwards, supposedly much more acceptable. However, the “think tank” about Madrid Madrid Think Tank picked up the proposal, suggesting a “participate process” and a “international ideas contest” to reform the area of Sol.
Besides the lack of participation, or the redundancy of the process (the Puerta del Sol was already full of ideas, the ones proposed by @acampadasol) and the victory of such an elegant and aseptic proposal, as well as useless (the one from Linazasoro Studio, an habitual in the design of public spaces) the interesting part was to see how quickly the contest became obsolete.
Summoning a row of “experts”: architects, historians, sociologists (is there any square expert that knows more than the average citizen?) to light up the debate, suggesting a collection of uses and ideas for the square, which were refuted accurately by the anthropologist Alberto Corsín: it doesn´t make sense to think about reforming a square without stopping to think what is a square nowadays.
Namely, the question is not thinking in what is inside the square, but rather in its whole sense. Its validity can range from a bicycle parking, an area for children and some centenary trees to a skater park, a statue and a dog zone, or something else such a bench with hundreds of worksites that have sockets and Wi-Fi.
Nowadays, the public space doesn´t have to have a shape in order to make sense.
- From those muds… ¡to these gardens! Arquitecto Ribera Gardens or Barceló Square.
With changes in consumer patterns and trailing “retail gentrification”, it has been proposed in the last years a reform plan for several markets in Madrid. Among many other measures, public bids were announced (that method that is so democratic) in order to carry out a re-do and to modify the surrounding of the markets of San Antón, Barceló y La Cebada.
That´s Barceló´s case, while the market was amid the works, the sellers were working in a provisional and “removable” market of steel and plastic located on top of Arquitecto Ribera Gardens, one of the “grounds zero” of botellón during the 90s.
Much sooner before the works were finished, a group of neighborsgrouped under the name of Vecinos Haciendo Jardines(Neighbors making Gardens) to give human face in a debate that was, in theory, about dismantling the market and recovering the gardens.
Months of debating, with the participation of neighbors that were very knowledgeable about the task, have led to a “participative” process in which the council designs and let the neighbors choose between three gardens options: “The Y”, “The O” and “The U”. Their names only indicate the shape of the green zones in the spaces. The only thing that can be chosen is the position of the trees, flower beds, benches and play park. And nothing else. Because the proposal don´t have anything else.
After decades of reforms and designs of public spaces with the more varied ways (see the examples of the European Prize for public space10), from the “hard squares” of Barcelona to EcoBoulevard, after the Forat de la Vergonya of @acampadasol, after reforming EVERY square in Madrid city center…In these proposal that Madrid City Council offers to the neighbors of Barceló area it´s not only imagination and creativity what is lacking, the most worrying is that there is no trace of the squares that were are living in, no trace of our life. Maybe the mistake was considering that the gardens can exist as a contemplative form of nature inside the city.
And however, the participants in the process take this result as a victory: they make sure that the government sticks to its word of dismantling the portable market.
- Two defeats as a present, and one opportunity.
The Social Center La Traba was evicted and demolished in the same day, in the middle of August. The biggest covered BMX court in Europe has been being constructed by the youngster of the neighbor for years. Debate days are being organized for the petition of the cession of Legazpi´s fruits and vegetables market, being supported by many different agents. Patio Maravillas asks the local government to take ownership of the problem that means for the neighborhood the possible eviction of its current headquarters by a company that has bought the building to construct touristic apartments …
Asking and getting spaces has become something possible nowadays.
Plaza de España, after years of abandonment and liquidation sales, it´s going to be remodeled. The Council calls for a participation program, very criticized, in which the citizens are able to participate…Hurrah for the Council!
Legazpi´s fruit and vegetable garden and the fight of Patio Maravillas to be listened by the local government and to get a building lent in order to continue with its activity and social functions. These situations present lots of opportunities. Even in the case that a hypothetic left-wing government would govern Madrid and would give these spaces away, we wouldn´t achieve anything if we don´t take responsibility of how we are using, managing and dreaming our public space.
The option of overflowing, of losing control and of changing is at our reach.
- Government and neighborhood initiatives. The “others” that aren´t “us”. Urban Cooks.
All these experiences of spaces managed by Madrid citizenry that try to engage with the administration, are developing pioneering experiences in the city. As the experimental process that are, these experiences raise new questions in the legal, administrative and judicial fields, that are difficult to resolve, since the proper administrative instruments doesn´t exist and there aren´t previous benchmarks.
All this without taking into account the willingness of politicians, who in the public Spanish administrations are above everything and accumulate a power much bigger than the technicians and administrators (although they sometimes find ways to boycott or to put obstacles to political decisions).
In any case this ecosystem of public spaces managed by citizens, all of them immersed in its own process (from the list we save the Red de Huertos Urbanos, which has quickly learned that a network is a stronger than an individual by itself), means that every urban citizen experience in the public space has to articulate its own negotiation (or fight) with the administration in order to solve needs that ultimately are common to all of them: from legalizing the transfer of the space to having access to public infrastructures (electricity, water…)going over questions such as standardization and civil responsibility of the constructed elements that constitute the space.
As a response to this situation in the last years diverse projects have been formed, by a new generation of citizens that like the members of Basurama have grown and developed in all these context that we have described (many of them are architects or social science researchers), that try to tackle this problems, such the Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas(that visualizes and maps the initiatives and its needs), Increasis (that abstracts and catalogues the legal processes that each of the initiatives has followed), o Citykitchen y La Mesa Ciudadana, who try to generate a learning and communal thinking space between citizen´s initiatives and technicians from the administration.
This is the picture where the project Urban Cooks takes its place, an European scope project that pretends to establish an investigation process concurrent and parallel in Madrid, Skopje and Belgrade, cities in which a similar problem has been detected.
Taking into account the differences in the cases of the participant cities and the experience of all the European professionals that collaborate with the project, Urban Cooks try to design diverse tools and methodologies that are able to mediate between the context of each of the administrations and the needs of the citizens initiatives.
The final objective of the Urban Cooks project is to collaborate inside each urban context to define tools, protocols and working spaces that allow a better interaction between the citizen processes of management of public spaces and the technicians of local administration, and that also work as operative and accessible tools for the different situations. We want to think that this project together with all the rest previously described, collaborates in the opening of what is until now a small crack in the citizen´s management of public space.
The project Urban Cooks Platform is a partnership composed of three entities, each of them responsible of coordinating the activities for each of the participant cities: Inn Madrid the artistic collective Basurama is responsible for the activities Madrid, in Belgrade the responsible is the Architecture School of Belgrade and the Mikser association and in Skopje´s case is the Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research.
The project started in December 2013 with a meeting of all the partners in Madrid and would end in May 2014 with the foundation (we hope) of three platforms or spaces that support these citizen processes and facilitate interaction between them and the local administration.
In Madrid, the main action axis and investigation space has been the project autoBarrios SanCristóbal, in the San Cristóbal neighborhood of Madrid. In this project, Basurama together with the architect Sarah Fernández Deutch and the local agents reunited as Plataforma Autobarrios, have started a participation methodology, creative transformation, caring for the project and starting a dialogue with the administration, that we believe it can be apply to other experiences, having into account that the complexity level of the social fabric of San Cristóbal neighborhood and the socio-economic conditions in which this project has been born are difficult to replicate.
Regarding the interaction between the citizens and the administration, our experience after several years of creation, support and consultancy in spaces managed by citizens had let us see that inside that huge entity that is a council (and what example better than Madrid City Council9, that the most militant and active citizens feel as “the other”, has actually an appreciable number of people that inside the administration try to defend the public interest and to improve the life conditions and convivence inside the city. Those “others” can really be part of “us”.
From its position and with its tools, this group of technicians try to insert these new realities in the judicial and administrative reality that they experience. The questions that arises is until what point these interaction experiences between citizen initiatives and proactive technicianscan bring closer what is legitimate to the legal realm and to somehow modify, although minimally, administrative mechanisms. A good example would be the process of regularization of the urban orchards by Madrid City Council and the Red de Huertos Urbanos, with its successes and failures.
Maybe is not about fitting in the existentlegal and juridical frames, but more about inventing other new tools that answer the needs particular to these new spaces managed by citizens. Without putting into a cage or limiting the conditions of what is possible that is proposed by these experiences while forming at the same time frames that are stables, reproducible and bearable for the administration and its mechanisms.
It seems that we cannot think anymore of public space as a “service”, we rather have to think of it as an open infrastructure that can be developed, used, exploited and redesigned by the politicians of a city.
Let´s take as an example of this difference the one that may occur between a cycling lane-that can be used by everyone as they wish- and a council service of bicycle renting, that apart from not being free, includes as many restrictions as any other service: On one hand, every economic and rentability law applied to the use of the bikes, and all the regulations “for its proper use” on the other.
To summarize, we know that the reason behind the return of the bikes to our cities has been the citizens that have started using them again. TheBici Crítica and the Ciclonudista in Madrid are one of the favorite street actions for Basurama: it doesn´t have any organization behind, or external laws that regulate it and behaves as a sort of “activist party” of the maximum political efficiency and, like in many other fields, the government is trailing behind the political imagination of the collective intelligence.
That this same intelligence is being shown by all these new examples of public space managed by citizens avoids ending up being bureaucratic when it starts becoming “official”, is a challenge that all of us, as the citizens, technicians and politicians that we are, must compromise to tackle.
1The riots after the botellón in Barcelona add to 54 people arrested and 69 injured.http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=28531
2 PEÑA Falconetti. “El Forat”. 2004. 75 min.
3 DELGADO Ruiz, Manueli. “El ‘forat de la vergonya’”. Article published in El País.http://elpais.com/diario/2006/10/10/catalunya/1160442449_850215.html
4 BASURAMA. CASTRO Bejamín and RODRIGUEZ Miguel. “Basurama: proyectos”.http://www.madrid.mobi/UnidadesDescentralizadas/EducacionyJuventud/Juventud/JornadasYCongresos/Ficheros/LibroDePonencias.pdfPágina 192.
5 BASURAMA and REY Miguel. “De la basura a la basura pasando por la basura”.http://www.basurama.org/b06_expo_basurama_panoramica_contenido.htm#a
8 VENTURA, Pere Joan. “El efecto Iguazú”. 90 minutos.
9 CORSÍN, Alberto. “Piensa Sol (I)”.http://www.prototyping.es/uncategorized/madrid-al-sol .