This year’s INURA conference with the topic “Non/De/Re- regulation: limits, exclusions and claims”, will take place in Athens and its region (Oct 3-10/10). As every year the “Annual INURA Conference” is a one-week event and is divided into two parts: First, we will explore the city of Athens through field trips and public events (3-6/10), followed by a retreat to the north-east coast of Attika (Marathon, Schinias beach, 7-10/10).

NonDeRe-regulation: limits, exclusions and claims

Non-regulation: urban space produced through quasi informal processes, often depicted as chaotic and dysfunctional. State regulation is present-absent, selectively implemented, clientielisticly manipulated and thus non-subject to democratic social control. But also contexts allowing creative survival strategies, …blunting social exclusions and spatial polarisations.

Deregulation: experienced the last decades in the context of global neoliberalism through privatisations of functions of social reproduction and the increasing involvement of market sector in city decision making, producing increasing inequalities and new forms of social exclusion.

Re-regulation: seeking new roles for the state, the public sector and the “commons”. In contexts where (welfare) states attempted to implement planned urban development often with controversial consequences. In contexts where the claim for rational progressive planning has been historically unfulfilled.

Athens at a “turning point”?
At an instance when big capital entry in real estate is supported by dominant city development ideologies (mega-events, city branding, consumption orientation etc).

Traditional features of non-regulation and “loose” planning policy are today adjusted and reformed in a neoliberal political context.

There seems also to be a growing involvement of progressive and radical actors in struggles over city issues. Local social movements and resistances are putting forward democratic and environmental claims, related to public spatial regulation.

Questions for Inura in Athens

Starting our tour over the “Athenian example” we call upon the exchange among different experiences regarding the following questions:

  • What is the role of “non-regulation” in traditionally regulated contexts and, on the same time, what are the mechanisms that legitimize informal ways of production of space? Do de-regulation processes seem to converge with features of non-regulated contexts?

  • How does this re-regulation “process” challenge the discourses and practices of local social movements? In this process various questions related to the institutionalization or co-option of social dynamics, “bottom-up” or “non-formal”, are raised. How does this institutionalization coexist with a contemporary demand for state/central institutions?

  • How to pursue re-regulation as a open process that will challenge global deregulational dynamics and on the same time avoid the closures of previous attempts? How can a radical approach of democratic planning be pursued today.

Some more clues…

Apart from the main topic which functions as a general umbrella for the meeting, we also introduce various focused approaches that will give light to different aspects of the ‘realities’ of Athens. Approaches that could be organized as thematics, to function as informative “entry-points” for the field trips and for the exploration of the main theme in Athens: Culture and cultures / Identity and space / City and nature/ Capital transformations – Governance / Informal development.

The field trips will mainly lead us to places, which are today contested by local movements or which can reveal the actual transformation of the city. We will also visit three venues with a significant social role for the city and particularly for the neighbourhoods where they belong, where the evening events will take place. The public part will close with an open conference that will try to resume the experiences acquired from the fieldtrips and will explore the main theme through different international experiences.

See you in Athens

The ATHENS INURA team: Katerina Chryssanthopoulou, Haris Konstantatos, Penny Koutrolikou, Eleni Livani, Giorgos Marnelakis, Eleni Panagouli, Giorgos Patrikios, Katerina Polychroniadi, Dimitra Siatitsa, Nikos Souliotis, Stavros Stavrides