Metelkova: culture took ownership of the urban environment

Metelkova: culture took ownership of the urban environment

Metelkova is an autonomous social and cultural centre in the city centre of Ljubljana (Slovenia). It is defined as a self-managed and well-organized community. There is no legal status for the site and the type of urbanism we can find is informal.

Metelkova was a military site, which became an empty military space with its leftover military barracks (seven buildings) after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991.

In that year the Network for Metelkova, composed of more than 200 alternative and youth organizations, asked the municipality of Ljubljana for permission to use those barracks for peaceful and creative purposes. As a response, Ljubliana authorities gave the Network for Metelkova formal permission to stay and use the site.

Since September 1993 the site have been squatted by mainly young activists and artists, who have occupied the site. In 1995 it was redefined as a self-organized autonomous zone in 1995. Art exhibitions, performances, concerts and engaged activities have taken place in the buildings of Metelkova.

Over the last few years Metelkova, like Christiania in Copenhagen, has been the subject of several studies and reflections on the phenomenon of squatting and on living with different laws and institutions that surround it.

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