What Neighbourhood, Whose Neighbourhood?

Contested Public Space, Active Citizenship and the Grassroots in the Cabanyal

  • Francesco Andriollo Utrecht University
Keywords: Spain, public space, active citizenship, grassroots movements, urban resistance


This article aims to understand the geographical specificity of the repoliticized public space in the Cabanyal-Canyamelar—a neighbourhood in Valencia (Spain). The goal of this endeavour is to discuss how the struggles over public space reveal and expose hidden, latent, and wider tensions that produce different configurations of active citizenship; those, in turn, pose the questions of the access to and the uses of public space, which are mostly determined by class and ethnicity. To this end, the peculiar topography and history of the Cabanyal-Canyamelar, the practices, politics, and discourses through which the ‘publicity’ of space is produced, the differences in the social, cultural, and power capital among two antithetically polarised groups of grassroots associations have been considered and compose the discursive and empirical ground on which the research was based on. This research shows how within the abstract definition of public space as a space open to everyone, structured conflicts among unequal and plural publics pose questions of who is entitled to claim and assert control over space.


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How to Cite
Andriollo, Francesco. 2019. “What Neighbourhood, Whose Neighbourhood?”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18 (2), 308-34. https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1708.