Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jacket Potato

Some useful reading about established squats around the world...

Christiania is a long-term squat, founded in 1971 on the site of an abandoned military zone. An independent community of almost 900 people, the "Green Lung Of The City" covers 85 acres and has four unbreakable rules for visitors and those who live there: no hard drugs, no rocker badges, no weapons and no violence. Worth a visit.

Poortgebouw is one of Rotterdam's national landmarks. Built in 1879, it was squatted in 1980, to highlight the lack of affordable housing in the city. In 1982, the city council agreed that the squatters could stay on as a housing association, thus legalising the squat! Offering film nights, a cafe and an infoshop, Poortgebouw faces eviction in 2009, thanks to the building's sale in 2001 against the wishes of the housing association.

Although long since closed, the ELF Experiment in Amsterdam was an initiative by a group of people to engage in positive squatting. That initiative included a "magic restaurant", a budget dormitory, art studios and a "Skylab" that could house 24-hour parties on a regular basis. Sounds amazing? Check out the story, as told by its founder, Ton.

With the 2012 Olympics looming ever closer, Games Monitor continues to report on its impact on London. The site describes itself as seeking to deconstruct the 'fantastic' hype of Olympic boosterism and the eager complicity of the 'urban elites' in politics, business, the media, sport, academia and local institutional 'community stakeholders'. Informative stuff.