On the forthcoming pages of this issue of Perspectives, you will find many stories written by citizens in the true meaning of that word. They describe what the “right for the city” means to them, why they perceive their activism as fighting for a common rather than an individual right, and why they choose to fight for one of the most precious yet most neglected of human rights. But their stories are even more than that: reading them, one learns so much about the perfidious ways those in power limit people’s right to the city.
You will read about their efforts to gain and defend their right to the city by standing up to those in power, whether that means defending a single park, a piece of coastline, a cycle path, or riskier fights against corrupted systems that exploit the common good for vested financial interests. Most of those fights are still in progress, and some of them already seem to have been lost. But the important thing is that the people whose stories you are about to read have not given up. Because giving up is not something that real citizens do.
Although it was not our primary intention, the testimonies presented in this issue of Perspectives has turned out to be a sort of manual from which one can learn everything there is to know about the subtle and refined methods of the presidents, prime ministers and even mayors of Balkan Countries, whose hidden agenda is nothing less than to conquer people and rob citizens of their essence. In front of you there are stories of people who fulfill their obligations, but they do not get rights in return. That is why they have to fight for their rights. Especially their right to the city.
Table of contents
Editorial: What does it mean to be a Citizen? by Jovana Gligorijević
- TINA, Go Home! The Commons are Here by Vedran Horvat
- Belgrade Waterfront: Fight for the City by Dobrica Veselinović
- Skopje 2014: Illusion of Development by Ivana Dragšić
- Urban Commons: De-Commodifying Urban Life by Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen
- Parks or Perks: Can there be a Private Agora by Aleksandra Savanović
- Energy Management: A Tragedy of a Success in Serbia by Jovana Gligorijević
- Roma Cargo Cyclists: Neglected Champions of Sustainable Development by Ana Martinović and Danilo Ćurčić
- Urban Mobility: Bicycles with no Path by Jovana Gligorijević
- Culture in Public Space: “Do it Yourself” Philosophy by Iva Čukić
- Retrofitting and Reusing: From a Military Barrack to Community Centre by Dušica Radojčić