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Informal housing and the rise of vigilantism in West Coast Thessaloniki

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Landecker Fellow Nikos Vrantsis wrote an article on how the EU migration policy in Thessaloniki does not work. Partially due to the decision to move brothels off of residential land and into previously “industrial and semi-industrial use” land, there have been many empty and abandoned buildings in the city. As a result, it is not uncommon for the owners of these buildings to find squatters or unwanted residents inside. The location of these buildings spread through the network of people seeking shelter, and with the influx of undocumented migrants, these abandoned spaces have become informal settlements. Although owners of these buildings have tried to clear out their buildings and evict migrants, the sheer amount of people looking for shelter and the informal network between them has made this a near impossible task. The common response that owners have turned to has been more aggressive policing. In this article, Nikos describes the state of the issue and explains why the policing approach does not work.

Read more in Nikos’ article here.

Nikos is one of thirty Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellows. This fellowship, a collaboration between the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, was created to strengthen a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges can become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. Read more about the fellowship here.