Activists, community leaders and experts, who are either trying to get into local politics or who already sucessfully got in, came from nine different cities from all around Europe to the Our Common City conference. The goal of the event was to demonstrate to the Hungarian public that politically successful civil activism is possible, and not just in the usual suspect Western European countries but in the surrounding Central and Eastern European countries as well. The conference closed with a Hungarian round-table discussion, where two participants from the countryside and two from Budapest talked about their tasks and oppportunities in 2019.
Close to four hundred people attended the Our Common City international conference on February 22 and 23 in Budapest. Representatives of politically successful urban movements shared their experiences and opinions in round-table discussions and workshops for two days.
In the last few years we have seen a new political movement emerging around Europe: aware and active citizens who are fighting for their cities, for the development and improvement of their broader community by taking a political role. The right to the city, fair redistribution of the urban goods, a sustainable, a livable and healthy environment are the main focus of these organizations. Certain organizations emerged from one-off citizen protests, others decided after years of hard work to raise their activity to a new level and enter the arena of political representation.
One of the speakers at the conference represented Barcelona en Comú, which was organized in 2015 for the election of the housing activist Ada Colau Ballando as the mayor of Barcelona. Besides Southern European examples (Madrid, Lisboa), there was a special focus on the realities and peculiarities of the Central and Eastern European region. Alongside Berlin, respresentatives from Warsaw, Prague, Zagreb, Belgrade and Maribor spoke about their experiences of partaking in politics as a civil or even as a woman.
The participants of the Hungarian round-table discussion (Kriszitina Baranyi, Judit Gidai, András Pikó and Andrea Varga) talked about how it is possible to make changes in their cities – making them more just, more sustainable and more inclusive – from within the municipality, outside the municipality or on their way there.
Videos of the roundtable discussions:
Recordings of the workshops:
The conference was organized by the School of Public Life from Budapest and Eutropian from Vienna.
Photo: Gabriella Csoszó