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The Urban Citizens’ Extitutional Processes in Madrid.

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 Cartography of institutional management around housing in madrid.2000- 2015. SIC/VIC

Durante el mes de Septiembre a Noviembre de 2016, VIC junto a estudio SIC, es uno de los equipos invitados a la Trienal de Arquitectura de Oslo, After Belonging con la investigación realizada durante este año y medio titulada The Welcome Hotel sobre los procesos de desahucios en Madrid. Estos procesos operan como un ensamblaje urbano particular que involucra a Bancos, Fondos de Inversión, Instituciones, Desarrollos inmobiliarios, cuerpos, personas, vulnerabilidades y procesos de empoderamiento individuales y colectivos. Os presentamos como parte preliminar de la investigación un artículo que publicamos a finales del año pasado en la revista internacional MONU Magazine “Participatory Urbanism” titulado: The Urban Citizens’ Extitutional Processes in Madrid.

Como resumen, podemos decir que hablar de participación significa siempre tener en cuenta lo económico, los capitales y los recursos. Pues ¿Quién puede participar de la producción urbana? ¿Cómo los ciudadanos pueden asumir los recursos de tiempo y espacio para participar? Nosotros preferimos hablar de procesos colectivos de empoderamiento más que de participación. Si conectamos, en este ámbito, lo personal y las esferas colectivas, necesitamos un análisis diferente de las relaciones entre lo público y la esfera doméstica. En Madrid, una nueva esfera colectiva emerge desde las redes abiertas y distribuidas de las prácticas domésticas con la ciudad. Estos procesos, como el que lleva acabo la PAH (Plataforma de afectados por la Hipoteca) se desarrollan como procesos informales extitucionales desde la casa, relevando otras formas de ensamblajes urbanos y ciudadanos en Madrid. Los estudios de la organización ciudadana no han desarrollado sistemas para explicar o describir los diferentes modos o procesos que se forman alrededor de la vivienda. El propósito de esta investigación, por lo tanto, es describir, rastrear, vincular como se forman, cómo operan y cómo la acción permite que otros capitales no económicos sean fundamentales en este proceso.

El texto que os presentamos, investiga los diferentes modos en los que la creación de redes ciudadanas no solo proviene de los espacios públicos y las plazas sino también de las negociaciones financieras, los bancos, los desarrollos inmobiliarios y los cuerpos. La casa, no es solo un espacio individual, particular y un espacio íntimo. De la casa, surgen espacios colectivos, como lo muestra la PAH, que desde la creación de redes de entidades domésticas, empodera ciudadanos, así como iniciativas ciudadanas diversas, para el acceso a la vivienda; en un proceso que denominamos extitucional y que performa otro modo de urbanismo en Madrid.

VIV-Plano EX-titucional-150310 eeeCartography of urban citizen extitutional processes around housing in madrid. 2009-2015. SIC/VIC

Os dejamos continuar con el artículo en Inglés.

Non Participation

When talking about participation, we always need to take into account economics, capitals and resources. Therefore who can participate? Which citizens can afford the time and space resources to participate in their daily life? “At that time I could not afford to participate” That is what Marcheline said. She is one of the PAH citizens; therefore she was part of one of the multiple initiatives that developed a collective empowerment process for people to access housing in Madrid. Marcheline is one of the women that collaborates with us in the research on the Urbanism Housing process, which was developed by observing the citizens’ practices from 2000 to 2015. In addition, she was one of the 550,000 citizens affected by the mortgages and evictions process. In 2008, she worked in a multinational gas company and attended a university course on International Relations. She was also in charge of the family home. Her daily schedule was full of obligations including maintaining the house and providing the household’s income. In 2009, due to the economic crisis, she lost her job and could not afford to pay her mortgage back to her bank. She began to suffer from her precarious situation when the bank asked her to pay back her loan that had increased from 700 euros to 1,450 euros per month during those two years. Following this precarious situation, Marcheline discovered the PAH and began her own process of empowerment. “No one can avoid this situation better than you”. That is one of the PAH principles.

New Collective Realm: Public and Private Simultaneously

Marcheline’s case is one of the thousand cases which we saw in Madrid over the last 15 years. More than 570,000 cases of foreclosure processes in Spain and more than 100,000 in Madrid occurred with a maximum rate of 517 per day. The housing issue is not an individual issue. Instead it is an issue to do with the public consciousness with regard to housing access. The PAH platform makes the individual issue visible so that it is transparent for society and shows the construction of the foreclosure process.

We have moved from Foucault´s disciplinary institutions to Deleuze´s Control Societies where “floating control replaces the disciplinary time scales of closed systems”. The financialization of everyday life is an open system that affects you indirectly and shows the impossibility to manage your own household. That financialization of life comes from new centers of power for each space and time of your life dissolving the public and private spheres. What we can see with the PAH process is that all the spheres are being produced in an inter-relational process of construction of the individual spheres that are no longer private and the public sphere is made from the collective problematic experiences. In order to connect the personal and the social spheres, a different analysis of the relations between the public and the domestic spaces is needed, through assembling all the different financial players that perform the foreclosure’s daily practices. The PAH shows an emergent new collective realm based on networks opening and distributing domestic practices of resistance within the city. Publicness and the private sphere are processes that are built simultaneously.

Institutions

From 1990 to 2000 urban development on land in the region around Madrid increased by almost 50%, whilst the population increased only by 3.5% . Since 2000 more than 30% of the land in the city of Madrid has been urbanized to develop new housing projects. (Figure01) The real estate bubble appeared in Spain, where more housing was built than in France, Germany and Italy (2005) as a result of the land liberalization, the cheap credits and a “property campaign” led by the administrations, media and society. Spain has the most elevated rate of property/rental housing, which represents up to 85% of homeownership. The remaining 11% is rented in the free market, which means that 2% of social housing is either rented or purchased. In addition, over the last 10 years some “Financial Innovations” have emerged to reduce the rate of unpaid housing and as a way to return properties to the real estate market and increase its property volumes converting public houses for private owners. The creation of the SAREB, SOCIMIS, Vulture funds and other public-private institutions allows the market to make all the toxic fixed capital assets disappear. People renting social houses from the council were evicted from their homes, because public administrations sold their public ownership to these new private institutions. In 2014, more than 5,000 protected rented houses were sold by the Madrid Council and the regional administration to Madrid-global private capital. Goldman Sachs-Azora acquired more than 3,000 flats from the Young Housing Plan and BlackStone Magic Real Estate acquired 1,860 houses from the Public Housing Company of Madrid. Due to the devaluation of the housing prices during those years, the public institutions earned 329 million euros.
What is important here is to take into account the financial capital circulation between public institutions, private capital and new hybrid companies. That flow leaves many citizens without homes in a city where more than 15% of the housing stock is declared as vacant. The city of Madrid has 263,279 empty houses .
Institutions settle with a hard materiality. Bodies and buildings provide the necessary stability for its permanence. This hard materiality “allows the institution to put in place thick, repetitive and well defined relations” . Similarly to all the foreclosure processes, they are fixed, established and hierarchical with the hybrid relations between bank entities, vulture funds, political parties, justice institutions, modifications of the foreclosure’s laws, police interventions, etc.
Extitutional Procedures

This battle, between citizens and financial institutions, spreads to domestic spheres, private bank offices, public spaces demonstrations, parliament discourses, media representations and escrache protests in the streets. This battle has two different ways of producing visibility and engagement. (Figure02) One is the institutional submission formed by experts, technicians, engineers, economists and lawyers. The other, the extitutional procedure, is based on the collective self-empowerment created by citizens.
While the institutional process is based on its hard materiality, the extitutional process is a soft surface that operates thanks to the logic of the network; from the inside-outside duality that governs the institution and its hierarchies, extitutional surfaces can be understood as able to eventually assemble a multitude of different agents. As a concept in construction , we understand the extitutional process as a logic or a mode, instead of a positive reality. Extitutional is not the contrary of institutional. So at this point, what is the urban extitutional vector that determines the eviction´s processes in Madrid?
We propose and question the idea and give it a whirl for a citizens’ appropriation of it. We think about the environment of collective housing initiatives as extitutional and civic procedures. We suggest and query the idea of extitutional processes, which is opposed to the institutions providing access to housing and its development, economy, valuations and buildings. Citizens organize themselves thanks to the right and access to housing in multiple rhizomatic assemblies, into a dynamic and temporary extitutional process.
The PAH Platform is not the only entity working for the self and collective empowerment around the foreclosure process. From May 2006, citizens began to organize local demonstrations across the country with the “V de Vivienda” initiative. Afterwards, in December 2007, the first citizens who were affected created the Ecuadorian migrant organization “Conade”, which was the precursor of the PAH. February of 2009 was the time when the first local PAH appeared in Barcelona. In addition to the PAH, there are multiple initiatives, associations, research platforms, psychologists, lawyers, social caretakers and body-action platforms, such as Stop Deshaucios, that develop a common objective but not by consensus. Each of them develops their own strategies to function as an assemblage of multiple entities that includes images and symbolic representations, huge social networks and communities of mutual support. Alongside these entities, there are also self-support protocols, negotiations, protests and conflicts of material visibilities, such as the locks of the houses or objects of resistance. Those who are affected by eviction use fridges to stop the police from entering violently or various extitutional spatialities as part of the process ranging from a house eviction to demonstrations in the public space. These extitutional procedures allow all kinds of non-economic capital to be shared such as symbolic, relational, knowledge, care, affects, work, health capital etc. This urban extitutional practice is not supported by funds. Thus, it is a platform for diverse initiatives and communities to interchange those other fragile and precarious capital resources.

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Urban Bodygraphies from Marceline, Lamine and Irene and the reconfigiration of their non economical capitals. SIC/VIC

Individual and Collective Empowerment

The state responds to the financial and real estate crisis with more than 100 billion euros with the bank entities rescue. Citizens respond through the collectiveness of the issue and begin to organize themselves by forming those extitutional procedures. For matters other than acts of civil disobedience or negotiations with banks entities, the extitutional procedures provides collective knowledge for self-management from workshops, support groups on gender violence, violence against children, people with diverse functionalities, the elderly, migrants and mutual support networks. The process of empowerment is individual and collective at the same time. It goes from being guilty of to becoming the victim of a scam. This empowerment process goes also from individual empowerment to collective and global emancipation.
Similarly to Marcheline’s case, the process of empowerment builds a new political entity that is not only a political subject. Instead it is a political body that unfolds her power and distributes it in the city. Marcheline’s time-space table, in her foreclosure process, is now enacted within different associations, communities, initiatives and an increasing personal support that ensures the spread and commitment to Marcheline’s urban practice in Madrid. (Figure 03) Marcheline is nowadays a political entity with agency to mobilize many resources from her own foreclosure procedure to help other citizens in the extitutional citizen process. She developed a huge symbolic capital through her media appearances that enabled her to renegotiate her loan with her bank entity and pay social rent for her house for two additional years. Her non-economic capitals became much higher in her own empowerment process.

It is not a coincidence that Marcheline is the one who, in this article, represents the empowerment process. This extitutional process is led by women. As Carolina Pulido from the PAH says “it is a movement led and composed mainly by women, but also by men who join the fight, simply with a different view.” That is mainly for two reasons: quoting C. Pulido” firstly due to the feminization of poverty and secondly because men, unable to fulfill the mandate of gender being the holder of families, leave full of shame and guilt.” So, housing extitutional practices in Madrid are a feminist entity that brings into the public eye that private thought: the household indebtedness, showing once again as Kate Miller said that “The personal is political.” They connect the everyday, the personal and the collective, the visibility in the legal and institutional arena, which is made along with accompanying families: connecting the public sphere with care. They are erected in defense of space to support their peers and establish ties of solidarity based on the commons and care. That is how the individual and collective empowerment function in the urban citizen extitutional housing practice in Madrid.

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Evicted Domesticities as a coincident system. SIC/VIC

Extitutional Urbanism & Evicted Domesticities

The city in this process is a multiple assemblage that performs other production/reproduction or visibility/invisibility modes of the traditional public-private spheres. In this mode, extitutional urbanism is an urbanism made as a coincident system. According to Peter Sloterdijk, “The concept of a coincident system shows the simultaneous condition of the neighborhood and the difference: without this fact it is impossible to understand how contemporary societies emerge.” Also, without this concept we cannot understand the emergence of extitutional urbanism. The citizen housing practices in Madrid are all connected as a coincident system through the extitutional process in several ways. (Figure 04) Firstly, when linked with the bank entities eviction executions, one eviction could be part of other family evictions. If your parents support you with the mortgage process, after evicting you, the bank will evict your parents from their house to pay for the rest of the debt. Secondly, as an evicted citizen you will support other citizens in their specific empowerment processes. Thirdly, your evicted domesticity will be part of an assemblage of many other types of evicted domesticities. The invisible urbanism of evictions localizes each eviction as a singular entity. But if you put together all the evictions in Madrid you would have 11 million square meters of space and more than 500,000 rooms. (Figure 05) Also the number of people evicted is higher than the number of evictions .

Evicted domesticities are connected with a mode of producing emerging domesticities. Those domesticities appear in the temporality of uprising between when the police occupy the street at 7 a.m., and when the public notary and inspectors come to the house and the citizens gather outside and inside the house. At this moment the assemblage of all entities, banks, financial funds, administration laws, judicial protocols, citizens bodies, resistance objects, such as a fridge or mattress, photographers and video makers from big media and citizen journalists, firemen who have to open the locks of the house, neighbors including those who support the evicted citizen not the ones who close their blinds, enact the spatiality and temporality of the eviction process as something that shows the precariousness of our societies.

At that point, other spatialities and temporalities are performed in Madrid: from public demonstrations to the political escratches, such as individualized demonstrations in the streets. Additionally, specific actions in banks are taking place to support the neighbors’ particular negotiations. The support for the ILP (Popular Legislative Initiative), the mutual support in the social centers, the protests in the Parliament building, the emergence of thousands of 15M assemblies around housing issues, which can be found across the entire city, and the creation of new networks of care and mutual support are all occurring.

The entities shown in this article as extitutional urbanism are part of a whole. Each initiative, community or platform is part of a network of actions which are independent of their participation as a whole. The links are then based on relations between the parties, bodies, individuals, groups and communities, its objects, infrastructures and its spatialities, involving sets of relationships that cannot be explained by the parties, although they depend on them. These situations have the agency of being affected although they do not mutually constitute their own identity. This is how citizen extitutional urbanism works.

In order to conclude, we have to reflect on the idea of displacement that is inscribed in the process we discussed. The financialization of everyday life makes the question of the city irrelevant. Unlike the city, the financial engine associated to the real estate process, “knows no physical boundaries or limitations. There is no inside or outside, since the goal of the [machine] is for everything to be inside its domain” . The city is, in this extitutional case, only one of the multiple objects that are performed every day. The empowerment and emancipation processes are developed without the notion of participation as a consultancy or a call to participate. One could not afford to participate and take a position in the general consensus but, instead of that, collectiveness could make emerge new emancipatory processes to develop new modes of understanding the urban condition, which is always in conflict. It is neither a bottom-up nor a top-down process. One process is beside the other in a regime of connected isolation.
The financial market designs our homes. Private investment funds decide from thousands of miles away which life you should lead and how to configure it. This changes everything. Similarly to Marcheline’s case, thousands of citizens in Madrid collectively question the evictions system through collaboration and self-governance. This article shows the collective financial-economic eviction which happens daily in Madrid due to global economic policies. But it is not just happening in Madrid. The world is a recursive system of successive evictions at all levels.

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Urban housing eviction assamblages. SIC/VIC

Notes:

[1] The entire research is made for the “Householding Fair 2015“ at the Bauhaus Dessau with the “Gropius Evicted” intervention at Gropius Masterhouse and the publication. Exhibition program curated by Regina Bittner & Elke Krasny and supported by Spanish PICE AC/E official program. With the participation of Poli del Canto & Jorge Pizarro from estudio SIC | VIC and Domingo Arancibia, Donovan Theodore Gracias, Amelyn Ng, Juan Luis Pereyra,  Raúl Alejandro Pérez, Thiago Pereira from Archiprix International Workshop. Madrid. 2015, Walla Saoul. Also with the collaboration of PAH Madrid (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca). Special thanks to Carolina Pulido and Rafael Ivan from PAH Madrid. Without the experiences of Marceline Rosero, Lamine Numke and Irene González we could not have made the Bodygraphys and the essence of Gropius Evicted Project.

[1] Data collection is always controversial. This data comes from the PAH webpage. Source: http://afectadosporlahipoteca.com/2014/10/10/los-datos-del-cgpj-confirman-que-siguen-aumentando-los-desahucios-en-espana/

[1] Deleuze. Gilles. “Postscript on Control Societies” October. v59.1992. pp.3-7.

[1] Source: Lilncoln_Institute 2014; Basurama 2006

[1] Source: Pittini & Laino 2011

[1] Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.es/2014/10/25/viviendas-protegidas-fondos-buitres_n_6046094.html

[1] Source: INE 2013

[1] “What it is generally called an institution is all types of behavior that are more or less forced or learnt; everything that in a society works as a system of coercion, without being outlined, in short, all social non discursive practices.” Foucault, “El juego de Michel Foucault” Diwan n213. 1976 p175

[1] Tirado, F. J., & Domènech, M. (2001). Extituciones: Del poder y sus anatomías. Politica y Sociedad, 36, pp 183-196

[1] While it was Michael Serres who in 1955 coined the term extitution, and characterized it as a concept that has no “inside” nor “outside”, they are just the limit, elements that can be connected or not. An extitution is a surface that cannot possibly be geometrized. Instead it is an amalgam of changing connections and associations. Its subject matter can be the positions, neighborhoods, proximities, distances, adhesions or accumulations of relations. Serres, Michel. Atlas. Editorial Cátedra, Madrid. 1994.

[1] See definition by @jararocha at VIC´s Wiky Open Glossary at http://viveroiniciativasciudadanas.net/wiki/glosario-abiertos/

[1] We have open discussions about the term “Extitution” with researchers such as J.M. Tirado, D. Montaner and D. López. You can visit the Spanish websites http://dlopezgo.net/2014/07/08/no-hay-extitucion-sino-modos-de-extitucionalizacion/ and http://viveroiniciativasciudadanas.net/2014/05/14/6ciudades-cuidados-en-el-espacio-publico/

[1] Regarding the origin of the housing initiatives in Spain you can read Ramirez, Iván at: http://www.elsalmoncontracorriente.es/?Cronologia-del-movimiento-social

[1] More on the notion of “Feminidades Ahuciadas” on the following Spanish website http://cuencaalternativa.net/feminidades-ahuciadas-por-carolina-pulido/

[1] Sloterdijk, Peter. Esferas III. Madrid. Siruela. 2006

[1] See the digital cartography we made in collaboration with PAH Madrid at Madrid Evicted. http://viveroiniciativasciudadanas.net/2015/03/10/madrid-desahuciado/

[1] Based in the principles of exteriority of Manuel De Landa’s notion of Assemblage.

[1] koolhaas, Rem. “Ulterior Spaces. Harvard project on the city. Guide to Shopping”. London. Taschen. 2001