Squatting and Activism Meets Community Development (Video)
Image credit: You and I Films
The third runway at Heathrow may be history, for now, but the lessons learned about successful activism will last a lifetime. Some time ago I posted about how the local community was collaborating with full-time activists on a squatted piece of land that was being converted into a community garden. By the looks of things, that project has grown and grown, and the members of Transition Heathrow have just celebrated their first birthday. So what have they been up to? I'm sure that the video below will reignite debate over whether squatting is justified in the face of wanton neglect, but having lived in plenty of communities where abandoned, vandalized and otherwise disrespected land and property blights the lives (and property) of those around it, I must say I have a lot of sympathy for communities that choose to take action.
Transition Heathrow has planted local food for the community, put on free bike workshops, and created a safe, enjoyable space for people young and old to come and congregate—all in a space where there once was trash, vandalism and crime. I'm sure it would be different if the land we are talking about was being actively used by its owners, but making use of derelict land seems like a service, not a crime. In fact, as commenters to my previous post on squatting pointed out, British property law says as much...