According to Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, the 21st century is the century of cities. A century of great political uncertainty at many levels, but where we see empowered citizens asking to be the protagonists of the changes happening in their cities.
Niš is Serbia’s third largest city and is an industrial hot spot in the former Yugoslavia. Throughout the agonising process of deindustrialisation that came with with the transition from communism, Niš had its own — and very visual — activist scene, despite staying under the radar. Today, movements that formed within this activist scene have gained more traction in Niš due to the recent protests in Belgrade, which are connected to housing issues and the increasingly high cost of utilities.
On the other side of the country, in the capital Belgrade, protests movements connected to issues of public spaces and goods have managed to mobilise tens of thousands of people to the streets, lead by Ne davimo Beograd.
What social changes are being produced in the cities of the Balkans? What movements are pushing and pursuing new practices of urban commoners in Eastern Europe?
David Harvey described the right to the city as the right that goes beyond the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right, since this transformation inevitably depends upon exercising a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation.
On this new episode of Talk Real, we speak with three activists: Dobrica Veselinović in Niš, Serbia, who is a member of the movement Ne davimo Beograd; Oana Băluță, from the civic platform Demos in Romania; and Vitalie Sprinceana, an urban activist from Chisinau.
Moderated by Niccolo Milanese.