There are far worse things for a city than having squatters occupying empty real estate. That’s the message from Barcelona this month, where upcoming city elections are putting illegal building occupation close to the top of the agenda.
Mayoral candidate Ada Colau, heading up a broad, left-leaning party platform dubbed Barcelona en Comú (“Barcelona in Common”), says that if she is elected on May 24, the city will no longer evict squatters from unused public buildings. The crime of leaving buildings empty when there is a need for housing, Colau suggests, is far greater than using them without permission. Should she become mayor, Barcelona will only pursue public building evictions if there is a safety issue.