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Did you know that in the 90's Geneva used to be the most squatted European city per-capita? According to sociologist Jean Rossiaud, the first wave of squats in Geneva came at the end of the 1970s with the occupation of parts of Les Grottes district. The movement sprang up throughout the city as a response to property speculation.
By the mid-1990s Geneva was the most squatted city in Europe per head of population, with a massive squatter presence from housing hubs to alternative culture associations. Having reached its peak in the mid 90's, the number of squats has since diminished, but some of the remaining ones have become more institutionalized and thus were able to gain more solidity.
photo by José Guilherme Marques
As housing shortages and gentrification reach new depths in Europe, we look at one of the most direct forms of action against these problems: Squatting.
gerund or present participle: squatting
unlawfully occupy an uninhabited building or settle on a piece of land.
Matilda Tavelli, co-artistic director of the festival Animatou and based in Geneva, gave us a guided tour through a few of the squats in the city of Geneva.
A cultural space dedicated to music, vinyl and concerts inside an old gold processing factory.
We visited Crache Papier to meet the owner, Thomas Perrodin, illustrator and editor. Thomas, born in Paris, told us a bit about his relationship with squatting, and how he was touched by the direct change people in Geneva were able to bring about.
As standing for Cinéma Durée Déterminée, is a “simple space with the shape of a triangle”, says Laurent Toplitsch. The cinema was created in the basement of Cooperative Ressources Urbaines, which occupies spaces that are in transition and makes them available to create more alternative cultural spaces.
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