INURA Warsaw 2018: The brutal order of re-privatization

INURA Warsaw 2018

Just returning from INURA Warsaw 2018 – Towards a walkable urban theory, where we paced the city gaining rich insights on Varsovians’ struggles over housing, memory, and freewheeling urban development. With 80% to 90% of all buildings systematically destroyed by Nazi Germany after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, large parts of the city had to be rebuilt after the war. What struck me most are the ways in which this re-imagined city is being ruled today, including the truly overwhelming scale of wild re-privatization of urban land. Often replacing actual property restitution, the process promises easy profits and has triggered violent evictions of tenants. This culminated in the brutal murder of housing activist and tenant Jolanta Brzeska in 2011, legally unresolved as yet. Her memory lives on in murals in the Syrena squat and elsewhere, including the Warsaw Tenants Association of which she was an active member.

For further reading, I recommend the current edition of dérive with a collection of excellent articles on Warsaw’s contemporary urban issues, which doubled as a conference reader for INURA Warsaw 2018.

More info about the International Network for Urban Research and Action, and next year’s conference in Zagreb: