Introductory session: context and conjunctures (Monday, August 31st, 10.30-13.00, NTUA)
INURA in Athens seven years later
Penny Koutrolikou, Dimitra Siatitsa, Maria Jaidopulu-Vrijea (INURA Athens)
Political time space densification, spatial politics, conflicts and potentials
Andreas Karitzis (Nikos Poulantzas Institute)
Maria Kalantzopoulou (encounter Athens, AnalyzeGreece.gr)
Challenges and conflicts in western Piraeus (Monday, August 31st, 18:30 – 20 :30, Keratsini-Drapetsona City Hall)
Discussion with members of the municipal council of Keratsini-Drapetsona and local residents
Commons and solidarity economies: transformative potentials (Tuesday, September 1st,18.30-20.30, Theatre EMPROS)
Speakers: Myfanwy Taylor (University College London), Stavros Stavrides (INURA Athens, NTUA), Theodoros Karyotis (Vio.Me Solidarity Committee)
Coordination: Christy Petropoulou and Penny Koutrolikou (INURA Athens)
In the current period of capitalism, the accumulation by dispossession process absorbs many public commons in a very fast procedure (shock of privatizations). At the same time this process is legitimized and normalized in everyday life. In the era of bio-capitalism, can solidarity initiatives propose alternatives for the self-management of the commons, and how? How can common urban space become Common? How can solidarity economy and solidarity initiatives transform everyday life? We will discuss the potential transformative dynamics of such initiatives in different cities and peripheries. The discussion will take place in the self-managed theatre Embros in Psiri neighbourhood (see the site http://www.embros.gr and a poster presentation sqekbcn.squat.net/wp-content/uploads/sqekbcn/2015/02/poster-embros.compressed.pdf).
Roundtable on INURA´s collaborative research on real-existing NMM: process, results, starting points for conversation (Wednesday, September 2nd, 16.00-18.30, Greek Archeologists)
Chair: Manuel Lutz (INURA Berlin)
The unfettered advance of market-driven, neoliberal restructuring has changed cities world wide. Acknowledging the many similarities this process shows across cities since 2008 INURA members embarked on a joint collaborative research project to map what we termed the New Metropolitan Mainstream (NMM). Following this hypothesis teams from numerous cities produced maps and city portraits that document successful and failed strategies of urban upgrading, trends and patterns of urban restructuring, the exacerbating social inequalities and injustices, and how the NMM is contested and resisted locally. This roundtable presents core findings of the NMM research project that is to be published as a book soon. Sharing insights into the history of INURA´s collaborative process of research we want to discuss the evolution from initial hypothesis to the mapping of variegated real existing metropolitan mainstream and give some examples of how the local mapping exercises were practiced. The aim of this roundtable is stimulate a joint conversation on how to make sense of the mapped and ongoing urban transformations: how can such a research project contribute to create academic as well as political interventions to counter the many exploitations and to move towards a “genuinely humanizing urbanism“ as David Harvey put it?
Challenging austerity urbanism (Wednesday, September 2nd, 18.30-20.30, Greek Archeologists)
Organizers: Daniel Mullis (University of Frankfurt), Paschalis Samarinis (NTUA), Dimitra Spanou (NTUA)
Speakers: Margit Mayer (Free University Berlin), Maria Kaika (The University of Manchester), Sebastian Schipper (University of Frankfurt) and Michael Edwards (University College London)
Cities are the place where austerity bites, however never equally, as Jamie Peck and others have argued. In the context of the unfolding economic crisis, cities around Europe have become strategic sites for the implementation of austerity, through various forms of urban management, described as ‘austerity urbanism’. The starting point for this panel has been the two workshops held in Athens and Frankfurt in December 2013 and March 2015, where scholars from both cities came together to discuss and exchange experiences on “Austerity Urbanism in Greek and German Cities”. In Athens, harsh austerity programs have led over the recent years to an unprecedented urban crisis, which involves the collapse of welfare structures, significant rise of urban poverty, growing housing problems as well as rising xenophobia and racism. But, under the dogma of austerity, the gradual dismantling of social welfare has also been a central part of urban policies in the different context of German cities, leading yet again to the emergence of deep social segregations and spatial polarizations. Despite the different contexts, we were able to reflect on differences and commonalities, which transcend dominant national/ nationalistic narratives about the crisis and the imposed policies. Discussing topics such as the housing question, social resistance, urban planning and changes in everyday life, deepened our understanding of processes that involve both global dynamics as well as local particularities. As the workshops provided insights to the multiscalar mechanisms of imposing austerity, to the new contradictory social realities it produces and to the emerging strategies of resistance rooted in urban space, we wish to further reflect upon the very idea of austerity urbanism. In this INURA panel we wish to delve deeper to this open debate. By including more cases from around Europe, the aim is to trace the limits, range and perspectives of the concept of “Austerity Urbanism” as well as its helpfulness to current urban struggles.
Questions for discussions
1. Looking through your research work, how would you define “austerity urbanism” and how has it changed over the last years? How is the fiscal notion of “austerity urbanism” related to broader changes (social, political etc) in urban realities and, more importantly, to the recent complex urban crisis? How can such a discourse be introduced productively in a transnational setting (Mediterranean, American, central-European cities, etc)?
2. Looking through your recent work, what is your view on the political perspectives – successful political practices that challenge austerity urbanism? Based on the main theme of this year’s INURA conference, as stated in the central call: “…these same years have been marked and – to a great extend shaped – by numerous mobilizations and contestations against the exceptional measures. Moreover, they have been shaped by the voicing of claims “beyond the crisis” and by the emergence of alternative practices wishing to counter the adverse repercussions; practices involving social solidarity networks, alternative economies, barter systems and cooperative initiatives and networks of social support”, what would be your reflections? What are the potentials and limitations of such practices? Do they have the dynamic to contribute to alternative –transformative urban policies?