Stories & Projects

Ana Betancour lectured on "The Right to the City and the Right to Housing"

During Thursday lunch time Umeå University regularly organizes "Science lunches" at centraly located Café Station. The purpose is to invite UmU-based researchers to present their research in a popular scientific manner. The frame for this semester is "Democracy" On October 18th Umeå School of Architecture rector Ana Betancour spoke on the theme "The Right to the City & The Right to Housing". 

Ana Betancour's lecture focused on the conflict of interest and movements surrounding contemporary cities and urban development. Taking departure from a brief introduction to the notion of "gentrification" - processes of change in the built environment where poor dwellers are displaced by the influx of income stronger residentials - Betancour exemplified with the protests against the demolition of Istanbul's Gezi Park to construct a new shopping mall in 2013. Through references to Henri Lefebvre's ideas on "The Right to the City" she continued to discuss the various protests regarding the housing situation in Barcelona, mainly concerning the steady growth in the tourism sector, moving forward to also briefly explain the displacements caused by the burst housing bubble as the financial crisis hit Spain in 2008. Lastly, she highlighted similiarities in the local realm of Umeå with various conflicts during the 2010's like the privatization of 1600 public rental appartments in the neighborhoods of Carlshem and Mariehem in 2017. 
Troughout the examples Betancour emphisized how architects, artists and designers have experimented to innovate interaction between their professions and movements to strengten citizens power. Betancour argued that it is today important for the architectural educations to discuss the role of the architect in relation to growing tentions around matters of urban space as more capital is invested in speculation within that realm. 
Lastly, Betancour spoke about the new urban governments in cities like Barcelona, Naples and Amsterdam often refered to as "Fearless cities", which have tried to innovate local democracy trough interaction with urban citizen movements. 

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    The Stories & Projects section is a space for brief updates about the activities at Umeå School of Architecture: notes from on-going projects, links to articles in media, summaries from public lectures, reports on different collaborations. Click on the titles to see each full story.