Debt crisis and land dispossession in Greece as part of the global ‘land fever’

Costis Hadjimichalis, Professor Emeritus at Harokopio University, Athens, is presenting the results of his research on current land grabbing processes and spatial financialization in Greece, next week in Madrid. The event is part of the series of invited presentations of our Master in Town and Regional Planning at the Politécnica, in cooperation with Contested Cities Madrid. Hadjimichalis is one of the leading voices disseminating territorial and political transformations in Greece during the crisis (see his piece on urban struggles in Athens here, published back in 2013 in our journal Urban) and we are thrilled to host his lecture. The situation in Greece is not only partially similar to the Spanish scenario in the context of EU austerity programs, but it also reveals the gradual penetration of crude accumulation by dispossession schemes in the European sphere.

Costis is presenting similar material a couple of days before in Barcelona, in an event with Dina Vaiou organized by the colleagues of Espais Crítics.

More information about the proceedings in Madrid below.

COSTIS_MÁSTER 2015_02

Debt Crisis and Land Dispossession in Greece as part of the global “land fever”

Thursday 19 November

Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Madrid. Sala de Grados B

Abstract

The exploitation of land, but also of natural elements linked to it―such as water, forests, landscape, the subsurface and biodiversity―nowadays comprise investment targets for local and international speculative capital at some unprecedented extent, intensity and geographical spread. From 2009 on, Greece became a target country due to the current debt crisis which has decisively contributed to the devalorization/depreciation of the exchange value of land, decreasing monetary values by 15-30%―depending on the area―when compared to the 2005 prices. The special legal status imposed by the Troika as of 2010, forms a lucrative environment for speculators-investors, dramatically altering the legal, constitutional order and imposing something of a semi-protectorate status upon the country. This short presentation, based on author’s book, explains how the debt crisis in Greece made public land via privatizations and fire sales a major target for dispossession by global and local capital.

Costis Hadjimichalis is Professor Emeritus of Economic Geography and Regional Development at the Department of Geography, Harokopio University Athens. He had a previous position at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and was visiting professor at Roskilde University (Denmark), UCLA, Berkeley (USA), Oslo (Norway), NIRSA (Ireland), Macquire University (Australia) and Università degli studi di Padova (Italy). His research concerns uneven geographical development and socio-spatial justice in the Eurozone, the social and spatial effects of economic crisis in Southern Europe, the role of small firms in local development and a radical interpretation of landscapes as part of everyday life. He is section editor for Regional Development in the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elsevier), managing editor of the Greek journal Geographies and member of editorial boards in several other international journals. His recent books include Contemporary Greek Landscapes (editor, 2011), Athens: Melissa, Space in Radical Thinking (co-authored with D. Vaiou, 2012), Athens: Nissos/N. Poulantzas Institute, Debt Crisis and Land Dispossession, Athens: ΚΨΜ Publishers (2014) and Crisis Spaces: Austerity, Resistance and Solidarity in the European South, London: Routledge (forthcoming in 2016).

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