Right to the city in the urban peripheries: street art at Quinta do Mocho
14th Conference of the European Sociological Association
Quinta do Mocho, social housing neighborhood on the outskirts of Lisbon, has usually been addressed by the media as one of the major "problematic neighborhoods" in Portugal, a label based on the supposed relationship between its young residents and crime. But the reason why Quinta do Mocho is currently a popular news is actually art. Indeed, the area has recently been transformed into one of the most important street art hotspots in Europe, with more than 100 large-scale works (graffiti, paintings, sculptures) decorating the social housing buildings where roughly 3,000 people live. This project has been organized by Loures Municipal Council since 2014 and involves the participation of some young residents. They are the ones leading the guided tours, in which they present a perspective on their neighborhood, which is different from traditional stereotypes. It can be very fruitful to analyse the effects of this project on the political and cultural citizenship of Quinta do Mocho's inhabitants through the prism of Henri Lefebvre's theory of the right to the city. From this perspective and based on ethnographic observation of the guided tours, I intend to debate how the residents of the neighborhood, most of them coming from the former African colonies, are facing such changes. Will the population get involved in the artistic intervention that is being developped in the neighborhood? To what extent will the valorization of the neighborhood through art be capable of reconfiguring the place of its residents in the hierarchy of the city? While artistic expressions are excellent ways to overcome segregation and stigmatization processes among subaltern groups, it is important to debate their limits and the political exploitation of art when approaching social issues.
policies,stigma,Quinta do Mocho,Street Art,Right to the city,peripheries