The Configuration of a Multi-Pronged Housing Movement in Barcelona


The housing movement that emerged in Spanish cities during the 2007–8 global financial crisis has undergone various mutations. If at first it was led by the anti-evictions fight of the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (PAH) and the housing groups of the 15M mobilization cycle (2011–14), the successive rent crises since 2013 and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–22) have given rise to new activist expressions—housing/neighborhood unions (sindicats d'habitatge / de barri) and a tenants' union—in metropolitan areas such as Barcelona. These have played a central role in housing organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article we investigate the development of the housing/neighborhood unions while understanding their relationships with other housing groups in Barcelona. We first aim to know if, how, and why they have adopted, modified, or replaced the protest repertoires used by the PAH and the tenants' union and, second, to what extent the local housing movement in Barcelona evolved into a more diverse and multi-pronged configuration. Our findings indicate significant divergences between these housing organizations but also a common and complementary field of activism that eventually proved to be resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v16i1p63

Keywords: Barcelona; COVID-19 pandemic; Housing movements; Multi-pronged movements; Social movements


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