Rebellious Valencia: Social movements that shaped the city

Article published in Proyecto, Progreso, Arquitectura (ISSN 2171-6897), 27, pp. 48-63. (authors: Débora Domingo Calabuig, Javier Rivera Linares)

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During the 1960s, Valencia experienced an economic awakening that was accompanied by the development of territorial and urban infrastructures. With more than half a million inhabitants, the city was recovering from the floods of 1957 and was gradually growing, even without measuring the consequences of an aggressive urban planning process that was increasingly questioned by its inhabitants. The catalyst for urban activism was the energetic protests to save El Saler, although other phenomena followed. The neighbourhood movements activated and united different social fronts, always backed by young professionals who were experiencing a turning point in their disciplinary orientation. This paper provides a comparative overview of the claims that timidly emerged in the 1960s, gained popularity in the 1970s and evolved, especially in Valencia, into residential operations during the 1980s. Case studies are selected at different scales, featuring choral voices rooted in local culture: all are disruptive processes resulting from urban conflict. The conclusions reveal common threads in the reflections on the private and the public, in the reactions against speculation, and in the valuation and preservation of the natural environment for the well-being of users.