Talk and workshop on feminist urbanism and the nurturing city


Every year at the beginning of courses, a meeting is held between the students of the School of Architecture of A Coruña to form the team that will be responsible for organizing the FETSAC, the Festival of Architecture.

The idea of ​​the Festival was born in the ETSAC during the 2008-09 academic year. After years of focusing solely on their studies, almost suddenly the students became aware of where they were, what they were or what they did, and how they would like things to be. A few had the idea of ​​changing the status quo, they came together and decided to organize what is currently known by FETSAC.

That first edition set the foundations of the festival: a main theme on which the various activities revolve and which is changing from year to year: lectures and round tables in the mornings, practical workshops in the evenings and a final celebratory day with games, sports suigéneris and nocturnal macrofiesta.

Among other groups, on Monday, April 9, Col.lectiu Punt 6 gave a talk on feminist urbanism and in the afternoon she gave dynamism to a workshop on the nurturing city.


40,000 people protest against the “gag law”

On March 26, 2015, the Congress – with an absolute majority of the PP party- gave the green light to the approval of the Citizen Security Law, with the unanimous rejection of the opposition. A few months later, most of the groups appealed to the Constitutional Court. According to this regulation, what previously appeared as a lack, is now an administrative infraction, which can range from very serious (fined between 30,001 and 600,000 euros), serious (from 601 to 30,000 euros) and mild (from 100 to 600 euros).

Around 40,000 people, according to the Government Delegation, have traveled the streets of Madrid on the afternoon of March 18 to demand the repeal of the Citizen Security Law, in a march in which many attendees have demanded decent pensions from the Government. Under the cries of “Freedom of expression and right to pension” or “They steal our pensions and gag us,” among others, thousands of protesters have joined several claims and have toured the city center in a mobilization called by the platform “We are not a crime” and to which the State Coordinator for the defense of pensions adhered.

The march left at 6:00 pm from a crowded Puerta del Sol and arrived two hours later at the Plaza de las Cortes, where the Congress of Deputies is.

Many of those attending the march have carried a gag in their mouths. During the demonstration, called nine days before the third anniversary of the Law of Citizen Security, slogans have been heard such as “the gag law is a threat”. Several of the participants in the protest have explained that this law “cuts rights and undermines freedom of expression” and has caused the loss of democratic quality in Spain.

Setmana Internacional contra l’Assetjament al Carrer

La Semana Internacional contra el Acoso en la Calle es un programa iniciado por Stop Street Harassment y se lleva a cabo cada mes de abril, ya que abril es el mes de concienciación sobre el acoso y el asalto sexual (entre otros) en los Estados Unidos.

Holly Kearl, la fundadora de Stop Street Harassment, escribió su tesis sobre acoso callejero en 2007, centrándose en cómo las mujeres usaban los sitios web para compartir sus historias y tácticas para abordar el problema. En el 2008 comenzó un blog que constituyera un lugar para compartir experiencias y recursos. También empazó aquel año a rastrear el activismo global y escribió su primer libro sobre el tema.

En el 2011 se inició la Semana Internacional contra el acoso callejero, ya que había muchos grupos trabajando en este tema en todo el mundo, pero se carecía de tiempo para tomar acciones de manera conjunta. La instauración de esta semana permitió crear este espacio.

Los esfuerzos de SSH evolucionan y tratan de satisfacer las diferentes necesidades. Después de que el movimento #MeToo pareciera centrarse únicamente en los lugares de trabajo, SSH recaudó fondos, encontró socios y comisionó una encuesta nacional en EEUU sobre acoso sexual y agresión. En la encuesta se refleja que casi el triple de personas experimentaron acoso sexual en espacios públicos que en sus lugares de trabajo.

SSH con los años amplió la mirada incluyendo no solo experiencias de las mujeres, sino también las de todos los géneros. se convirtió en una organización oficial sin fines de lucro en 2012. 


Polar Night Walk

Jane’s Walk is an annual festival of free conversations guided by citizens inspired by Jane Jacobs.

On the first weekend of May of each year, the Jane’s Walk festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world. Jane’s walks encourage people to share stories about their neighborhoods, discover unseen aspects of their communities and use walking as a way to connect with their neighbors.

The urban life of Helsinki is very gray and dark, of rain and sleet. Before the question of the leaders of these walks: “Why do we always walk in the summer?” A night walk was proposed January 2018.

A small group of brave residents took advantage of the whole experience of a Helsinki of icy streets and icy wind from the sea. Walking in the evening led to discussions about the darkness and light in the city, and the feelings of security that this entails.




Estrategias de urbanización reversible en colegios de Barcelona

A pesar de ser un referente urbanístico reconocido a nivel internacional, el Eixample de Barcelona se enfrenta a múltiples desafíos propios de una ciudad en constante cambio, una urbe muy diferente a la proyectada por Ildefons Cerdà.

La ciudad trabaja por revertir esta realidad definiendo un modelo que priorice a las personas potenciando una movilidad sostenible y construyendo un espacio público saludable, diverso, a velocidad humana —con especial atención hacia las niñas y niños y la tercera edad— en una ciudad donde las condiciones topográficas facilitan una cómoda movilidad caminando o en bicicleta.

En ese escenario, la oficina barcelonesa Leku Studio ha desarrollado un proyecto de “amabilización” de varios entornos escolares en el Eixample, testeando mediante urbanización reversible, nuevos usos y distribuciones que favorecen espacios más humanos y amables y que acerca la escala urbana a los niños. “Deben ser espacios comunitarios; como territorio de extensión de la escuela; como espacio para el juego, para el verde, la historia y la vida local de los barrios“, explican Leku Jokin Santiago Elorriaga y Marta Sola Páramo, cofundadores de Leku Studio.


Public Space Tools goes to Venice!



In the evocative framework of a former salt warehouse in Venice, the self-managed S.a.L.E. Docks space, we took part in a festival for artistic interventions and social engagements called Dark Matter Games and inspired by the homonymous book by Gregory Sholette.

The S.a.L.E. Docks is an independent space run by cultural workers, artists, and students. They define themselves as a practice in which “the central focus is culture – culture as an element of collective work and common good, rather than a form to be exploited”.

The S.a.L.E. space becomes particularly significant for activism and the demand for common space in a city threatened by gentrification, foreign investments and massive tourism like Venice.

Every year the city is destination for people from all over the world coming to see the unique city and its massive cultural events. This huge amount of consumers is often not compatible with the inhabitants trying to live their public space.

Piazza San Marco, May 2017
Piazza San Marco, May 2017


During the 4-days festival, not only we had the chance to present the Public Space Tools website and his focus on the city of Barcelona, but we also had fruitful exchanges with interesting practices from all over.

Inter-action Room, connection with Molenbeek
Inter-action Room, livestream connection with Molenbeek


In particular, we spoke with Einat Tuchman, who was live streaming from Molenbeek (Brussels), struggling with the organization of the Espace Tous, a neighborhood event about participation and community involvement in the public space.

Then, we connected through Melih, who was in Venice with us, to his collective in Istanbul. That was a nice talk about the importance of such a space in this moment in Turkey, its influence in the neighborhood, its relevance as a cultural center and especially the how-to keep it alive and common through the years.

Espace Tous, Molenbeek
Espace Tous, May 2017


We got in touch with other initiatives and performances that reclaim public space as a Common, finding common challenges and interesting practices.

Among them, the toadbags and posters by Flup Marinus and Tuur Marinus, whose concept was meant to be a provocation on how to go unnoticed in public space and skip the line to enter the Biennale.

How-to guide Venice Biennale
Part of a ‘How to guide’ for tourists. A way for tourists to succesfully survive
the Venice Biennale 2017. By Flup and Tuur Marinus


Or also the EM Tools for urban mapping and performance practice, a choreographic method conceived by Alessandro Carboni that uses the body as device to capture, to extract urban events and to map what happen in a place in its geometrical and temporal extensions. It is a way of thinking about urban space and its representation so different from what we are used to, which allows us to explore new perspectives and to appropriate the space through sensory analysis.

We left Venice full of optimism, energy and good memories. We met new people, we saw old friends, we shared our experiences on public space and we enjoyed it with others.


Fem Plaça

Entrevistes #femplaça 2015 – Lucia from fem plaça on Vimeo.

Fem Plaça – means something like “Let’s make square” in catalan language – is a collective practice pushed forward by the neighbors of Ciutat Vella, in the center of the touristic Barcelona. Here, the locals feel like an endangered species, struggling to resist and to represent themselves in the everyday public realm.
Fem Plaça was born to make visible the lack of public space, understood as a physical, but also a political and relational space. Fem Plaça’s actions develop as temporary and itinerary meetings in the squares of the district, reclaiming public spaces where you can sit, play, chat and exchange experiences.
Gentrification, massive tourism and the consequent privatization of public space, is creating conflictive situations for the neighbors of Ciutat Vella, that have been seen reducing their possibility to move and to sit in a square without being advised to consume in a bar terrace. Due to a massive occupation of visitors, and because of the adoption of a preventive design of urban furnitures for the city, the Council thought that a good solution would be to remove public benches. And now the feeling is that the tourists have gained more power in the shared space of streets and squares of the neighborhood, to pass, consume, party, and then leave. The result is, in the everyday life of the neighbors, that there are no benches to sit, but a lot of chances to have a beer or a coffee in a bar terrace. With these actions, Fem Plaça collective is trying to highlight this problem, and at the same time to find moments and spaces of meeting and exchange between locals.


There’s a previous meeting organized in the square where we want to develop the next action, as a possible place to occupy temporarily, just for one afternoon. A call is made in the neighborhood and on social networks, so that people who are interested can come and share ideas. The aim is to grow a bigger voice and to involve more neighbors in the actions.

To produce each event, a specific network is generated, where every neighbor brings his knowledge and expertise. Graphic communication, historical excursus, logistics, generation of a manifesto to explain the problematics of each square, invitation to entities and collectives of the city to participate and support, during the day of the action.

Online and offline communication of the event, both through social networks and giving out flyers within a radius of 100 meters around the place of the event.

Preparation of the materials needed for the specific action, including food and drinks. A self-built cart serves to carry all the stuff for the action: chairs, games, chalks, drawing material, an itinerant photo exhibition of previous actions. The entities that are nearer to the chosen square, use to carry extra chairs.

The day of the meeting in the square, occupying the space without asking any previous permit to the Council. We were never asked by the police, or have had any problem with them. When children come out of school, they’ll come to play and draw with chalks on the pavement. It’s a nice way to stop by and know your neighbors, play with the kids, listen to stories and histories of the surroundings, mesure the private occupation of bar terraces and report.

– Cartographies of the squares (measuring the occupation of terraces, the lack of benches, fountains, etc)
– “Com Fem Plaça?” itinerant exhibition – is used to inform and to separate spaces of the square
– Fem Plaça cart, to bring all the materials to the squares, and also an identitary element of the actions
– Manual Fem Plaça – DIY Fem Plaça with instructions (download)


Lucia Vecchi


L‭’‬anticiutat‭ ‬o la vida

The North American urbanist and historian Lewis Mumford, author of the colossal work The City in History (1961), described a new phenomenon: the spread of suburbia across the length and breadth of the United States in the fifties, in order to house a growing white, salaried middle class. He was not talking about brand new cities or about the expansion of existing ones, but about a new type of dispersed urbanisation scattered throughout the land, connected by huge road networks but lacking urban centres or shared identities.

Mumford – and some of his followers, including Murray Bookchin – believed that this new megalopolis was becoming a force of social and even mental segregation, which denied any possibility of the city as cultural project, breaking down public and the social spaces of gathering and conflict. As urban developments without the characteristics of a city, these new mass residential suburbs on a mass scale where an “anti-city”, Mumford said. They were created for the purpose of containing undifferentiated, indifferent lives. They were incapable of generating community or association, incapable of producing city.


A few decades later, the French anthropologist Marc Augé coined the concept of “non-places” as a spatial category for postmodern times. “Non-places” are spaces of transience or waiting such as airport lobbies, underground stations, ATM and supermarket queues. Users have a purely contractual relationship with these spaces, and their commercial solitude makes it impossible for them to inhabit them, to turn space into place.


Now, the evolution of metropolitan mode of production is going one vertiginous step further: the categories of the anti-city and non-places are shifting from the margins to the centre, and materialising with disturbing propinquity.


The Capitalist Totalisation of Space


Indeed, the anti-city is no longer a phenomenon that occurs outside the city. Instead, it pierces the city, it sucks it dry from within. Similarly, non-places are now not just aseptic, anodyne hotel terminals and stations; they have moved into the heart of former working-class neighbourhoods that had until recently been vibrant and full of people. Hotels and tourist apartments are replacing housing – homes – on a mass scale. New economic activities targeted at a floating population of tourists are transforming urban production: laundromats with invisible staff, rolling suitcases rather than shopping trolleys, coffees for four euros, signs outside shops in English “wifi and cookies home made”.

Local residents are expelled from the neighbourhoods that they themselves created through their everyday activities and collective struggles. Their presence is only accepted – if they are lucky – as temporary employees in the new “extreme precarity”. People’s lives and jobs are replaced by transience and by activities that are indifferent to the environment, by users with a purely “contractual relationship with the space”. Working-class neighbourhoods are being erased by an active force of social dissociation that repels community and association. The entire city is at risk of becoming a huge hotel, a massive airport, a humongous vending machine, an infinite terminal, a monopoly board for investors.


Nonetheless, anti-cities and non-places are an accidental reality, the result of one particular kind of economy, one specific form of capitalist production of space. And they are the spatial condition that is becoming widespread in the new tourism-property accumulation regime – a post-crisis systemic restructuring in which tourism replaces bricks and mortar (or the tourism industry replaces construction) as the means to intensify the rent-seeking and speculation of urban land. In this regime, financial and property capital (as well as technological capital – damned Airbnb) determines the destination of investments as well as the structure and distribution of income. As the president of a Barcelona-based French investment group said: “There is a huge stock of housing intended as first or second residences that the market is unable to absorb, and we have turned it into apartments,” (Gutiérrez, S. “El turisme salva el totxo”, El Periódico, 10 April 2014). This new profit-hungry accumulation regime seeks the capitalist totalisation of urban space.


A New Cycle of Struggles for Urban Collectivisation


Staving off the anti-city and the spread of non-places in order to reempower the city – and life – requires a direct attack against the tourism-property accumulation regime We need to activate a new alliance of popular, socioeconomic, feminist, and environmental movements that can defend urban grassroots sectors against the attack of tourism-property capital. Neighbourhood associations, community facilities, social and solidarity economy initiatives, local and mutual support networks, undocumented migrant associations, organisations of people affected by extreme precariousness, and new social unions must join together and continue on the path taken by anti-eviction movements, activate joint mobilisations, conquer new spaces, and work to ensure that municipal and autonomous community governments are at the service of urban social reappropriation.


So if we want our city to be the fruit of the desires and needs of the people who live in it, a city at the service of the expanded reproduction of life, we must urgently move towards the collectivisation of land ownership in all possible modalities: nationalisation, municipalisation, cooperativisation, socialisation, squatting, citizen control. It is becoming increasingly clear that urban collectivisation and reappropriation are the only means that will allow us to realize our plan for a cooperative, mutually supportive, feminist city.


Tomorrow will be too late.

*Ivan Miró is a sociologist and cooperativist. This article was published in Basque in Argia.

Public Space Tools Workshop @ Rotterdam (04|12)

Place-making, citizen empowerment and the right to city are concepts which have grown in popularity during the last decade. In the Dutch context multiple design collectives and companies within the fields of planning and (landscape) architecture have focused on utilising the aforementioned concepts in order to facilitate the urban development in 21st century.

In order to work on these topics and, more specifically, the idea of platform, a one-day workshop has been organised on 4th December in Rotterdam. The host and a local partner of the event was Stipo – an urbanism office that operates as innovators, initiators, developers and project managers of urban development schemes. The workshop was specifically focused on the theme of urban sports and more precisely, on urban skating as public space activators. Skating seems to have a direct relationship with the public space, the empowerment of citizens and legal issues. At the same time the theme allows the event to go in a certain direction and provides some useful, at least modest, input for the platform.

For the purpose of the workshop the schedule was organised in a specific way defining three main parts. The morning session of the workshop consisted of three interactive presentations which aimed to provide the participants with the possibility of getting familiar with (1) the main concepts of interest that are behind the platform development and (2) the practical experience of Stipo (NL) and Straddle3 (ES). In the early afternoon a public safari, led by skater Niels van der Zwam, was made. It aimed to bring the participants to some of the most emblematic skating spots in Rotterdam. The last part of the workshop focused on the technicalities and possibilities of the platform and practical knowledge concerning the legal norms in respect to public space in the Netherlands.

Presentational Part

The morning session of the event consisted of three presentations made by Sander van der Ham (Stipo), David Juarez (Straddle3), Ale González (WWB) and Sergi Arenas. The introduction of the event was made by Sander van der Ham who is a representative of our host – Stipo. Sander shared some of the perspectives which stay behind the philosophy of Stipo and their inspiring approach towards public space intervention(s).

The next set of presentations was made by David Juarez (co-founder of Straddle3) together with Sergi Arenas and Ale González who are some of the main initiators behind the project. First of all David introduced the participants into the theme of public space essence, its dynamics, specifics of the various uses, the “right to city” concept and legal issues in respect to it. Later on he was joined by Sergi Arenas with whom David presented their main practical experiences in working with urban skating development from organisation of collaboratively efforts to the actual execution of the construction works.

The last talk from this part of the event focused on platform. David together with Ale revealed some specific details concerning the functions and capabilities of the platform combined with examples of how to collect data and use the platform to update it. With this the first part of the event ended and the participants had their time to take a break, enjoy the provided lunch and prepare for the public space safari.

Public Space Safari

After the break the event included a group public space safari which was led by Niels van der Zwam, a developer and skater who is well-familiar with the context of Rotterdam. The safari included a number of spots that are meaningful for the skating scene in the city. Some of them are designed especially for skating but other spots did not have a pre-determined intention of including skaters as intensive users of the place(s).  A full description of the safari you can find here.

The places included in the safari were artwork and historic spots such as ‘Delftse Poort’, the City Hall’s bunker, the embankment of the Westersingel and heavy used public spaces such as De Lijnbaan (shopping street), the recently redeveloped Binnenwegplein and the new plaza in front of the Central Station. These spots have completely different purpose but reasons such as their spatial arrangement, surfaces and design elements have attracted special attention by the skaters. Despite the monumental value and meaning of some spots the skaters are not regularly engaged by the police.

During the walk the participants had the possibility of visiting two places which were design especially for skating – the Westblaak skatepark and the Waterplein by De Urbanisten in the Agniesebuurt. The former location is a famous project in terms of the European skating scene and it is in its final stage of construction. On the other hand, at the Waterplein the possibilities for skating are provided in an informal way.

It is worth mentioning that during the public space safari some test uses of the PST mobile app were made in order to test the capabilities of the app in real time.

After the two hours walk in the city the public safari was rounded up and the participants got back to the host location of the workshop where the last stage of the event took place.

Practical Part

The last part of the event contained the practical exercises concerning the event. First, a legal exercise regarding the general behaviour and urban sports in public space was executed. Questionnaires with set of questions were given to the participants with legal questions to be filled up. On the basis of this a discussion on the legal issues in respect of the theme(s) of interest was facilitated.

The closing stage of the event was dedicated on testing and working on the platform. The participants were separated in two groups aiming to prepare content to be uploaded on the platform online. The first group focused on describing the public space safari in a great detail including specific description(s) of the visited spots. The post can be seen here.

On the other hand, the second group worked upon the preparation of content related to the executed legal exercise. They focused more on the organisation of the content into a visual expression. In any case, this content represents in full extent the ‘how-to’, normatively practical input which aims to deliver for its users.

During the exercises couple of informal discussions raised in between the participants addressing the functionality and the capabilities of the platform. With this exercise the workshop came to an end. To sum up, the various activities that took place during the event provided the participants with a mixture of experiences. In result of this multiple informal connections were created which formed the basis for very fruitful knowledge generation and exchange. This was considered as the high appreciated positive that every participant was able to benefit from and hopefully build upon in future professional projects.

Related links:

La Santa skatepark in Can Zam

La Santa, in the Can Zam area of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, is a park consisting of a skatepark, a bike park, a promenade, and a parking area. It was built on vacant lots, resolving a connection between two of the city’s emblematic public spaces.

The project is also an experiment that brings many different elements into play, such as the participation of future users of the park in the decision-making and design processes, self-built practices borrowed from the skater DIY world, landscape design using existing and native elements, recycling, and the optimisation of public resources, among others.

The first part of the project, consisting of some 3,000 square metres or 35% of the overall area of approximately 8,000 m2, will officially open to the public in October 2015.


The project was commissioned jointly by Santa Coloma City Council and the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona. It has been coordinated by Straddle3 and implemented in collaboration with Sergi Arenas, Lur Paisajistak, and skaters from Santa Coloma and Badalona.

+ info at