Riprendiamoci la città / Take back the city


Riprendiamoci la città. Roma non è in vendita: Campaign of the social movements of Rome

The process of privatization of land and public assets represents a form of exploitation of territories and cities. Moving from Fordism to Post-Industrialism, capitalism “invents” new means of accumulation, suggesting a financial management of public assets and of the so-called “common good”.

That is blackmailing local administrations without money  to surrender their properties and building areas, with the illusion that we can get out of the crisis by focusing on megaprojects, mega events and  putting public assets up for sale. The effects have been so devastating in the last 20 years that Rome is almost unrecognizable.

The new instrument of ‘social housing’, presented as a decisive intervention against the housing crisis, is proving to be a real scam. Recent housing plans and policies impose changes in regulated uses,  grant cubic capacity premiums and allow procedural simplifications, leading millions of hectares of land to irreversible damage.

Houses build with regional funding on public areas, instead of facilitating access to social housing, turn into traps for a tenancy burdened with rents that reach 800 euro per month. All this takes place while public housing is being abolished.

So cities and territories are being transformed, filled with shopping centres and cranes, while many apartments remain unsold (190 thousand in Rome). In these conditions living becomes more and more precarious, while these construction activities do not pay back in terms of employment or quality of life. On the contrary unemployment and job insecurity have increased proportionately with new building activity.

This development model that determines the criminal use of resources and public assets is actually causing the current situation and it is impossible to reverse it with a mitigation of damages. Participatory processes promoted by the administrations are empty shells useful only on a consultative level, but almost never affect decision-making.  The interests and lobbies of speculation are controlling local administrations and determine city planning processes, leading to unsustainable use of land without control.

The practice of re-appropriation and reuse of cities and territories appears to us as the only horizon able to subvert the existing model and to enforce the definitive “game over” to this mad and reckless model of development.