You can read the first chapter: “From Lisbon to Istanbul” here.
We did manage our assignment and quite successfully. After setting up appointments with LXAMANHÃ we met with members of the group who took us to lunch to a vegan communal kitchen, which gave us a glimpse into the way the city and its inhabitants were recovering from the economic crisis.
A little more about the movement: LXAMANHÃ (meaning Lisbon tomorrow in Portuguese) is an interactive online platform dedicated to the urban development of Lisboa. An emerging social movement, formed in 2012 and inspired by the NEXTHAMBURG movement in Germany, LXAMANHÃ encourages the citizens of Lisbon to enrol as free members of the movement and of the site/platform. These members are then free to propose ideas for urban development – improvements and plans that they consider are vital to their city’s neighbourhoods, transport, and green space. Completely driven by citizen participation, LXAMANHÃ acts an intermediate platform connecting citizens, urban development experts and the municipality – its future vision is to push proposals that have the most potential to the next step of realization. It is a new form of collaborative grassroots urban development with a bottom-up approach that collects ideas and proposals, links stakeholders with each other while encouraging dialogue amongst them. The vision behind the process is space for appropriation at a more grassroots level, thus representing how normal individuals want to craft, (re)produce and use their space in order to satisfy their daily living and daily use of the space. Currently, LXAMANHÃ has 155 proposals with 289 users.
At the end of our trip, we presented our research findings on the challenges that face online social movements dedicated to urban development. It was here that our journey took a different direction spinning us from the west and across Europe to the east, to Istanbul. Encouraged by our professors, we wrote an abstract and submitted it to several sociological conferences across Europe.
Having applied, we were now left wondering if we would be accepted. Our anticipation was enormous!