‘Civic participation’ is en
vogue in Graz: Whether we think of “Zeit für Graz” (Time
for Graz) or the ‘dialogue’ on the reorganization of the Annenstraße
– participation is attached utmost importance to. Thus the citizens
may get rid of their fears and worries about what is going to happen with
their neighbourhood and bring in the one or other idea.
Yet, in this way the people affected are being lead to believe that they
have decisive power that they in fact do not have. Because the decision-making
takes place somewhere else when entire neighbourhoods are conjured up
out of nothing. And in case there is nevertheless some resistance against
a shopping mall, the construction project is excluded from the civic participation
forum. And the residents have no option but to wait for the next elections.
Urban district activists turn the tables: solidaric neighbourly help,
exchange among the people affected and autonomous, i.e. independent and
self-governed design of the neighbourhood and the principles it is based
on. Peter Birke, urban district activist and writer from Hamburg, tells
us about his work and all the conflicts he has experienced with regard
to rents and free spaces, gentrification and eviction, traffic policy
and industrial settlement in the Hamburg district of Wilhelmsburg.
Organized by Projekt A-Z – Initiative
für ein autonomes soziales Zentrum in cooperation with < rotor
Part of the < rotor > series “The Art of Urban Intervention“,
which deals with the situation and the developments in the Graz Annenviertel.