Experimental Geographies

"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)

Squatting in Europe: Update

1. The new ban on squatting in the Netherlands came into effect on Friday, October 1. Under the new law, the act of squatting is now fully criminalized. Those who keep squatting face fines and even imprisonment for up to two years if violence or intimidation is involved. There have already been a number of protests across the Netherlands and it will be interesting to see how the ban plays out within wider debates in the country about the provision of affordable housing.

2. There has been some positive developments for the Jeudi Noir squatters occupying a ‘hôtel’ at Places des Vosges just off the Rue de Birague. The Paris Court of Appeals has proposed a mediated solution between the squatters and the owner of the property. All the details of the story can be found here, here, and here. I will post more details as the story develops. Also posted on the Jeudi-Noir website are a couple of video clips from a recent action or ‘happening’ by the Jeudi Noir activists at a real estate exhibition. I especially liked the interesting play on the French word ‘plafonne‘  (which means ‘to put a ceiling on’). To speak, for example, of a ‘loyer plafonné‘ – as in the video –  is to refer to ‘protected rent’. In this context, and as I noted in an earlier post on Jeudi-Noir, it is becoming clear that longstanding claims to particular ‘rights to the city’ (and they have a long activist history in France) have found new and increasingly urgent expression in recent struggles over the politics of housing (in Paris and elsewhere).

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