Salvem el Cabanyal: Urban movements and their claim for the “Right to the City”

Luz Navarro Eslava


In the last 15 years a network of urban social movements has sprouted around Valencia under the name of the ‘Salvem’ [Let’s save]. The main objective of these is to protect their territory from what they consider an external threat. Focusing on the case of Salvem el Cabanyal [Save Cabanyal], this article shows that when a mayor urban renewal plan threatens to erase a consolidated neighborhood, urban conflict can be used by a well-organized community to empower themselves, confront the urban plan and claim their Right to the City, which is the right to live, create, use and take part in the decisions that affect their neighborhood. The most intriguing platform that Salvem has used to channel their protests and engage critical resistance against the plan is the art workshop ‘Portes Obertes’ [Open Door], a way of using art and vernacular architecture to reinforce neighbors’ claim in their struggle. However, if the conflict is beautified focusing merely on the historical and cultural value of the neighborhood, hence forgetting the real causes that underlay behind it, the movement might stop the plan, but it will lose the transformative opportunity.


Urban Regeneration; Conflict; El Cabanyal; Right to the City

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