The Observatorio Metropolitano of Madrid is an interdisciplinary collective made up of artists, architects, sociologists, economists and specialists in new technologies, along with militants and activists from different social movements (squatters, ecologists, feminists, etc.). Its main field of action is based on the research and cartographic production around the recent transformations of the metropolis of Madrid, as well as on the social and economic impact of the current financial crisis in our territory
The project carried out by the Observatorio Metropolitano is defined through two main purposes. On one hand, it aims at the production of living knowledge, conceptual maps and research tools to be used by the social movements. On the other, it wants to form itself into an autonomous space of research and knowledge production, independent from the curricular, economic and academic determinations of the conventional research. Here, it is important to highlight that the Observatorio Metropolitano is an independent collective without any financial or organic link with any University, political party or union. Its main support arise from the militant and activist networks of the social movements in Madrid and other Spanish cities, and in punctual collaborations with cultural institutions and art centers such as Arteleku in 2006, and the Museo Nacional y Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in 2010.
Since its foundation in 2005, the Observatorio Metropolitano of Madrid has published six books and more than twenty articles in different readers, scientific magazines and published lectures. Moreover, it has participated in more than 200 public events and lectures. Most of this material is available on-line at this website.
During the last three decades, Madrid has been transformed from a peripheral -in Europe as much in the emerging financial globalization process- to a booming global city: #8 corporate base in the world by the number of big transnational companies it hosts, the center of the third most important European metropolitan region and financial, airport transport and touristic head in the map of flows that connect Europe with Latin America and North Africa. This process has produced a new social landscape, a complex puzzle of labor, social and political issues featuring the mis en scene of a new services proletariat (mainly female and migrant), the polarization of rent between a super-wage minority and a impoverished majority, under increasing precarious conditions and the implementation of neoliberal policies that are undermining a Welfare State that was always too feeble in this city.
Madrid‘s next step: 2006 French banlieus ? August 2011 London riots? 2010-11 Greek insurrections? For the time being, Madrid has become an priviliged space for a new kind of protest developed under the name of the 15.M movement, or the “indignados” movement. This promising political power will have to deal, nevertheless, with an urban crisis that is starting to manifest itself only now. With this project, we pretend to analyze the main transformation line that are conforming the actual social crisis of the metropolis of Madrid, but also outline the possible social politic, ecological and cultural scenarios that any political movement that pretends intervene in this city to will have to face.
This research is the continuation of our book Madrid ¿la suma de todos? Globalización, territorio, desigualdad, Traficantes de Sueños, 2007, available at Traficantes de Sueños.