Since the so called victory of western neo-liberal capitalism, communal services and public space are being predatory privatized. It’s our task to stop the destructive appropriation of communal heritage by the tycoons! Before the words public and communal fade away from our vocabulary we want to remind everyone of one great achievement of the 20th century: equally accessible public space. Here we are not referring to the public space as the place of representation for the state and its elites, such as public squares or state cultural institutions.
We think of the non-proprietary communal space created around the Modernist apartment-blocks often – though not always – built at the periphery of urban centers.
From France to the Soviet Union, Modernist town planning and public housing was driven by the idea of securing equal access to urban infrastructure, to light, air and green space. The solution were high-rise apartment-blocks that left a lot of open space for communal facilities such as schools, kindergartens, community houses with playgrounds, sports fields, pathways, and meadows in between the developments. These park-like spaces, immediately outside the dwelling, are available to all in equal measure and open for everybody’s use.
Let us constitute those open spaces as political space!
There are no safeguards or fences that could slow down your pace! You can gather together without paying a fortune for the gentrified lifestyle in the inner-city! The openness, porosity and communicability of Modernist social architecture and landscaping that takes shape in a wealth of free space, pedestrian pathways, bridges, passages, niches, little woods and bushes is giving possibility of direct action, so let’s take it:
Between the blocks, social movements are born!
Obviously some part of society perceives this potential as a security risk that is hard to control. In former welfare-states, Modernist multi-storey apartment-blocks are being violently condemned and – like the Heygate Estate in London – are being torn down to make room for new buildings for wealthier clients. According to the same profit-driven logics, the city authorities in former socialist states sell open communal spaces to private investors that use them for the purposes of individual exploitation.
The World Communal Heritage campaign supports communities and individuals that want to organize and take action to prevent the destruction of communal space in their neighborhoods.
We affirm the idea of common goods that are managed by the community and we acknowledge the communal as heritage that must be further developed by the community – and not by individualistic interests.
Therefore we call to organize and to take over the future of the communal spaces in our hands!
Join in the World Communal Heritage Campaign!
Any communal, open space can be nominated by citizens, individuals, groups or communities as World Communal Heritage.
We initially present several spaces that bear the attributes of World Communal Heritage. These are communal spaces in the following micro-raions, housing estates or satellite towns: Botanica, Rîşcani and Buiucani in Chişinău (Moldavia), Heygate Estate in London (United Kingdom), Block 70 and Block 63 in New Belgrade (Serbia), Gropiusstadt in Berlin and Langwasser in Nürnberg (Germany).
We invite everyone interested to nominate and affirm their additional suggestions!
You can use the stickers, the logo and material for the initiation of a new campaign anywhere in the world.
World Communal Heritage is an initiative by Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić to affirm the open spaces of Modernist urbanism as non-proprietary communal heritage.