Via anne querrien of multitudes-infos:
My name is Tom and I'm working with a Zagreb-based
organization Multimedia Institute - we are a community organization
working in social approaches to technologies, digital culture, cultural
policy, protection of public domain and social theory.
Since three years we've been working with an alliance of mostly cultural
organizations, environmental organizations and citizen initiatives
against the failed urban development policies, introduction of
neoliberal forms of governance, rampant gentrification in the city of
Zagreb. Our name translates to Right to the City, as is incidentally the
case with many similar initiatives around the world. You can get an idea
of our campaigns and protests form our website http://pravonagrad.org/
(sorry, all in Croatian), or rather the flickr photoset documenting some
of our actions: http://flickr.com/photos/pravonagrad/.
Largest endeavors we've done so far was mounting opposition to a
particular project in the center of Zagreb, which resulted in the change
(for the worse) of existing master plans and building regulations and
might result in a privatization of a large chunk of public lend for the
benefit of a single investor, close friend of our social-democrat, yet
autocratic populist city mayor. We've started a petition against the
change of masterplan and the project, and collected some 54000
signatures of citizens of Zagreb. We organized large protest to warn the
city authorities and we've invested a lot of effort into legal
contestation of those changes. We've been also dealing with other
particular cases around the town and helping citizens mount opposition
to various undertakings of privatization of public space and benefiting
the private interest.
In a week from today we're organizing an international conference on
neoliberal city. It's part of a larger urban reclamation festival
Operation:City. More on the event you'll find here:
http://www.operacijagrad.org/en/. Over the next couple of days we'll
start posting contributions to the conference and we should have
audio/video up there soon after the sessions. So, keep coming back.
Here's the conference announcement:
The Neoliberal Frontline: Urban Struggles in Post-Socialist Societies
Zagreb, 4. 12. - 7. 12. 2008. Community Center Mosor, Zvonimirova 63
The Neoliberal Frontline is an international conference aimed to reflect
on transformations of cities, urban landscapes and urban governance in
Croatian and other post-socialist societies in the Eastern Europe at a
moment of urgency when the development of cities in those societies
increasingly comes under pressure of neoliberal policies and economic
overexploitation of space.
The conference will take stock of the following issues: effects of
globalization and transition in the context of East-European cities,
introduction of neoliberal governance instruments, city-planning
policies damaging public interest for the benefit of business,
dismantling of process of citizen participation, urban struggles against
disfranchisement of citizens and cultural practices contesting
privatization of public space.
Many of the developments that can be observed in East-European cities
resemble urban developments in Western societies in the post-industrial
and globalizing 80-ties and 90-ties, yet are characterized by
particularities of post-socialist transition - a transition marked by
democratic deficits, corruption of public governance, failed
privatization of economy and now economic pressures on space.
And while developments in the Western societies are well researched,
there is not much research and reflection available on the developments
in post-socialist societies. This occasion will provide an opportunity
for international scholars, researchers, urbanists, urban activist
groups, cultural practitioners and local initiatives to look into those
early research efforts and expand on them with first-hand accounts from
the participating actors.
Alongside keynotes and panels with interventions by those different
actors, the conference will also include work sessions and meetings of
local practitioners and concerned citizens, civil initiatives from
across Croatia, and urban activist groups from across former Yugoslavia.