The Madrid meeting took place from 14th till the 16th of February 2013 and was hosted by Basurama.

The story of the meeting

What was your intention while planning to host your meeting?
Manu (basurama)
Our intention was to present to our partners a comparison between the official developments of public spaces in the center of the city and the informal community developments that arose in the last years.

What do you love about working with participation?
Kino (EEUP)
I guess our first aim was to transmit you the spirit of Esta es una Plaza. How people contribute just for the sake of sharing and having a good time. And how this way of sharing is generating and liberating artistic, cultural, human and many other potentials of the people. Apart from that, and together with Basurama, we wanted as well to show you what is going on in Madrid regarding participative and alternative urban spaces. How there are many different places boomming in the city and how all cope in different ways the aims and feelings of the people that are not being addressed by ordinary urban policies.

What would you say are the unique qualities of the city shown thru your visit?
Sarah (IWoE)

Discovering a city and its people has so much to do with your own focus and the persons who show the city to you. We discovered very diverse and unexpected squares in Madrid that I would have never found on my own or with a regular guide. I have been to Madrid several times before but this time I had local squares glasses on and discovered very lively and self-made places with incredible local values. I was very amazed about the power of noneconomic places and the strength of sharing.

What did you experience in the dynamic of the partnership?
Bas (Local Intelligence)
I experienced that a lot of people were not there to questions things, but just there to consume whatever what was thrown at them.


The minutes and hand-outs for that meeting will be uploaded here soon. In the meantime, you can read some papers that were written in the meeting's aftermath.

Projects we visited

You will find here an overview of the projects we visited in Madrid.

Estaes una Plaza (EeuP) was founded three years ago by a group of volunteers with one specific aim: to be given permission by the local Council to take care of a vacant lot in the center of Madrid and to convert it into a green open space for all citizens to enjoy and use.

El Campo de la Cebada. Neighbors from the Center District, temporary managing a plot where it used to be a public sports center that had been demolish. The intention is to develop all types of proposals / activities / cultural projects, social, artistic, athletic … for the use and enjoyment of the people of the center district and Madrid. The aim is to be the residents who participate in the decisions of the activities and projects developed in the space. Take responsibly and manage the use of the space, promoting social relations among them.They believe that the space should be enjoyed and shared among all.

Solar de Lavapies. Solar de Lavapies is a plot managed by the citizens of the neighborhood and meeting site of the15M Lavapies Assembly. Currently under construction … they are developing and orchard,designing and implementation cultural activities.

Tabacalera.La Tabacalera is a self-managed social center, a space where anyone could find theater, music, dance, painting, conferences, meetings, audio, workshops, events, interventions in the district …ect. They try that no activity predominates over others, and that the collective, public and social transformation is implied in all of them. They call “transformer” to what is done from self-management and autonomy rather from dependency.

Mercado de San Fernando.San Fernando Market is a traditional market of Embajadores and Lavapies neighborhood. It is nowadays living an intense process of reactivation with different initiatives and varied commercial offers.

Methods we used

Think Commons. Open Event

Practical Workshop:thinking with the hands

People we got to know

Acetsam wants to develop new working methodologies and works on a transversal education within ETSAM (Technical School of Architecture of Madrid).

Madrid Urban Gardens /Orchards Network, is an initiative promoted by different groups engaged in agriculture in urban areas, in the city of Madrid. The creation of the network is a response to the needs of urban gardens to share knowledge and experience, receive mutual support, inputs, etc..

Paisaje Transversal is a platform that works on new management and urban intervention models. Their goal is to develop bottom up projects, facilitated by the use of new digital tools that enable participatory and ecological processes, reducing costs, streamlining procedures and allowing a more democratic city buildings.

Madstock is an association of architecture students and recent graduates with a desire to expand the knowledge acquired at the University. They are interested in “do it yourself” and ton working on the scale 1:1.

PKMN. They are an architecture office and collective based in Madrid [Spain] since 2006. They do research into tecnology-typology-construction (applied to consolidated urban contexts, local memory and comtemporary cultures); simultaneously we love exploring new architectural fields connecting citizens, identity, pedagogy, communication, game, action and cities, specially throughout strategies of participation, mediation and social innovation, and experimental active learning process.

Todo por la praxis is articulated as a laboratory aesthetic projects of cultural resistance, a laboratory that develops tools with the ultimate goal of generating a catalog of tools for socially effective direct action. The group is formed by a multidisciplinary team that develops part of its work in the collaborative construction of micro-architectural or micro-urban devices that allow the recover of public spaces and collective use.

DESTIEMPO URBANO is a work and research platform of urban processes. Their aim is fighting for temporary reprogramming vacant or obsolete spaces in the consolidated city.

[VIC] Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas is an open-source platform, a collaborative project orientated to promote, spread, analyze and support initiatives and critic processes in a proactive way throughout all the civic society layers, with special incidence in territory, city and public space.

Adolfo Estalella .Working as an anthropologist, in between anthropology and social studies of science and technology. My topics of current interest are digital cultures, social movements and the city as well as the methodological aspects of ethnography, specifically the research ethics and digital research techniques. Currently working for the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).