Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
Alexander Vasudevan in conversation with Javier Gil
“We urgently need to rethink how we build cities and how we live in them”. As can be seen in The Autonomous City (Alianza Editorial, 2023), Alexander Vasudevan advocates squatting as a way of reimagining and reclaiming the city to counter housing insecurity, speculation and the pernicious effects of neoliberal urban regeneration plans. The author's interests combine cultural and historical geography and urban studies with a commitment to experimental art practices and grassroots social activism. For him, the city is a place of political protest based on a series of archival, ethnographic and participative methods. Alexander Vasudevan has spent years monitoring the evolution of the struggle for housing in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Milan, New York and Vancouver. His aim is to analyse the organisation of alternative forms of co-existence, how governments have responded to these practices, the recent criminalisation of squatting and the brutality of evictions.
Alexander Vasudevan is Associate Professor of Human Geography and a Christ Church fellow at the University of Oxford. In his work, he explores the city as a place of political protest based on a series of archival, ethnographic and participative methods. He is the author of The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting (Alianza Editorial, 2023), Metropolitan Preoccupations: The Spatial Politics of Squatting in Berlin (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015) and co-editor of Geographies of Forced Evictions: Dispossession, Violence, Insecurity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). He has also written for The Guardian, openDemocracy and the New Left Project. He is currently focusing his research on radical politics and urban precarity. He is also working on a project on the history of the anti-psychiatry movement.
Javier Gil (Madrid, 1985) is a researcher at the Sociology II Department: Social Structure (UNED) involved in a project entitled “Generation Rent: Socioeconomic and political impacts of the changes in the Housing System in Spain after the Crisis of 2008” (financed by the Ministry for Universities and the European Unión -NextGenerationUE). He holds a PhD in Sociology (UNED) and is a Collaborating Professor of the University master's degree in City and Urban Planning (UOC). He was a researcher at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, between 2020 and 2022. He has also written for El País, ElDiario.es, Público, El Español, Ctxt and El Salto. H is also a housing rights activist.
With the collaboration of Alianza
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