Even before the crisis exploded and left us all open-mouthed, Spanish people, but especially Spanish youth, were already struggling for the right to get a house (among other issues). Living with the family is comfortable and good for your stomach but starts to become a nightmare at some point. Living with some friends is funny until is not anymore. So, one day, young people from Barcelona organized a friendly demonstration totally out of the blue, but after a long time of irritation.
It might be 2007, during the spring perhaps, because I remember the sun over our heads but without burning our ideas. Hope had been already burnt, though. People were shouting different slogans, of which the most repeated was “you won’t get a house in your life” (with some extra swear word). On the way of the crowded protest, somebody was making huge soap bubbles in one of the most famous avenues for shopping in Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia. And it was not only for the fun of it but to make a representation of the real state bubble. And, like the real one, the soap bubble also exploded against the ground. Time and time again. It seemed so weak. Why no one noticed it?
Later on, your uncle, who is a retired banker, tells you from time to time: “Now it is a good moment to buy a house. Prices are decreasing so fast.” OK, I will think about it, I answer, trying to seem interested in when, actually, I am thinking that this summer I won’t even buy a new pair of jeans during the sales.
Today, in 2014, I guess there is no way back. What’s done is done. Everybody who could, made use of the construction sector (through wrongful concessions, perversion of justice and so on) getting a lot of benefits for that. Were they put in jail? Nope. Well, just few of them: the scapegoats. Meanwhile, we were listening very often that all of us had lived beyond our means. Unfortunately not, though, or not that much, that is for sure.
Now we have a lot of empty houses which are almost impossible to sell due to their high prices. Some of them are not even finished because the crisis attacked before. And, on the other hand, families are thrown out of their own homes because they can’t afford the mortgage payment anymore (184 daily evictions on avarage during 2013). “People without home, houses without people”, another battle cry. So, is there anything we can still doing to overcome this situation? Cooperation is one of them and Carles Baiges, an architect of LaCol cooperative, gave us some ideas to change the course of the latest two decades.