The homing of newcomers in Brussels at the intersection of bordering and urban speculation:
From survival strategies to infrastructures for civic imagination and urban inclusion
Tasneem Nagi, Heleen Verheyden, An Vandermeulen, Viviana d’Auria and Luce Beeckmans
Keywords: Homing, bordering, urban speculation, coalition-building, space-sharing
Informed by a year of participatory action research in Globe Aroma, an organisation supporting artists and art lovers with a background as newcomers in Brussels, this paper examines how newcomers negotiate their homing at the intersection of bordering and securitisation on the one side, and gentrification and urban speculation on the other. We argue that these exclusionary structures of power do not only challenge newcomers’ homing by restricting access to housing, but also by creating precarious conditions for supportive organisations, which are often housed in low-quality, temporary infrastructures. Our research explores how housing and socio-cultural organisations in Brussels begin to utilise coalition-building and space-sharing as survival strategies, that gradually transform into a common claim for permanent infrastructures and become tools for building solidarity and homing the city. In doing so, they foster an alternative vision of urban citizenship, grounded in community-building and decent housing and services for all.