The Autonomous City – A history of urban squatting
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- Verso Books
- 2017 ISBN 9781781687864
- 304 pages
- 21 × 14 × 2.5 cm
The Autonomous City is the first popular history of squatting as practised in Europe and North America. Alex Vasudevan retraces the struggle for housing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Milan, New York, and Vancouver. He looks at the organisation of alternative forms of housing—from Copenhagen’s Freetown Christiana to the squats of the Lower East Side—as well as the official response, including the recent criminalisation of squatting, the brutal eviction of squatters and their widespread vilification.
Pictured as a way to reimagine and reclaim the city, squatting offers an alternative to housing insecurity, oppressive property speculation and the negative effects of urban regeneration. We must, more than ever, reanimate and remake the urban environment as a site of radical social transformation.
“An encyclopaediac and vital history of a topic which is often overlooked but is invariably at the heart of radical city politics.” – Anna Minton, author of Ground Control
“The Autonomous City is a detailed and sympathetic history of squatting movements in Europe and the United States. In addition, it is a discussion of its meaning in the ever fluctuating meanings of urban living. Part academic treatise and part action-packed history, Vasudevan’s text provides the reader with a nuanced look at the nature and meaning of the housing crisis in the capitalist West and the solutions housing occupations can provide. In doing so, he brings in the political, cultural and historical meanings behind the squatters and the communities they occupy and create. This is an essential book for anyone interested in the meaning of housing in modern society. It is also a sort of a guidebook for those tired of waiting for the economic and political systems of their respective nations to resolve the crisis that exists in almost every urban zone and who are willing to take matters into their own collective hands.” – Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch