After thirteen years of struggle and citizen mobilization against a deaf and ill will city administration, the neighbors of the “Casa del Pumarejo” association decided to take the lead of the situation and make, with their own means, a project that rescues the house. Chiefly, the inmaterial heritage that it entails. Although, the estate was declared “Bien de Interés Cultural” (“Estate of Cultural Interest”) in 2003, in the category of Andalusian Historical Monuments, the building continues falling apart due the neglect of the owner and the Ayuntamiento de Sevilla (Seville City Council). Besides that, today its last residents decided to leave.
It is in that context where the campaign “Lo Hacemos Nosotr@s” (LHN- We do it ) it is being retake together with Recetas Urbanas, and it is being develop a strategy of self-build microprojects to develop a progressive and self-managed rehabilitation of the spaces that were closed by the administration. Of course, the final purpose of this, is the complete rehabilitation of the building and the incorporation of new households. Even if, the project was planned and drawn quickly, it was possible through a self-build workshop and several meetings to thrill more than seventy active citizens that committed themselves to participate on the works. The long time that took to make any decision, as well as, the complex relationship between the different work groups (technical, communication, legal, institutional relations, economic, etc), finally managed to paralize the collaboration process between the association and Recetas Urbanas in December, 2012. Today, the initiative continues in its rhythm, while the abetment remains.
If just the built material reality is considered, we will be tempted to interpretate the collaboration of Recetas Urbanas with the Casa del Pumarejo Association as a failure. However, the reality is different. The organizational system of the “Casa” – horizontal and with a large number of people – has done that, little by little, the spark of spontaneity on the action got lost. The effects of the fear, are really different depending on the composition and size of the group involved and, in this case, the consequences that it had on the rhythm of the process did a lot of damage. After some weeks of work, the process began to stop. The construction billboard that it had to be on a structure in front of the facade and be the symbol of the determination of the neighbours with the project, at the end, was left with no structure on the interior yard. The message for the news conference that it had to be “we had begun with the intervention” was quite similar to “The Pumarejo gives the cap“. Things that at first sight can look like details, but back in reality, are elements really important and can be dangerous for the Pumarejo. Those elements reflect a weakness in its internal organization.
But, what was being created if was not something material? Perhaps, it was the most important part: a spark, the desire, an organizational scheme, a first experience with the self-build workshop and the cleaning day, as well as, human relationships, common values, etc.