Field Visits Camino 5
Settled in the abandoned Fruits and Vegetables Market of Madrid since February 2017, the EVA – Espacio Vecinal Arganzuela (Arganzuela Neighbourhood Space) is an example of the many associational movements taking place in Madrid in the last years. EVA is a civic movement that started with assemblies in the Culture Hub Matadero in September 2014 with the concern about the lack of appropriate free-use public spaces in the Arganzuela district. These meetings were open to all associations, civic movements and individuals developing activities in the district and stretched for two and a half years before they were granted permission to occupy the market as a self-run civic centre (EVA, 2018).
EVA is now registered as an association for administrative reasons, but was born and keeps growing as a meeting place where decisions and activities are discussed in open weekly assemblies. From dancing and cooking workshops to debates, open-air cinema or bike excursions, the EVA welcomes any project with the only pre-requisites of being free and of common interest. Different spaces within and around the market have been collectively arranged to host these activities. Not only is EVA an example of civic associationism, but living part of the debate on how to recover abandoned heritage in the city and what role can civic society play in it. New relationships between institutions and civic society were needed to reach the agreement on the use of the space, and continue during the design of a renovation project for the whole.