Lisiunia A. Romanienko
University of Wroclaw – Institue of Sociology


The vehemence with which poverty persists in new EU states presents significant challenges for those interested in housing advocacy for the urban disadvantaged. Post-communist states like Poland have inherited an unenviable legacy of dilapidated Communist block housing presenting contemporary conditions that include concentrations of violent crime, an assault upon aesthetic sensibilities, and severe impediments for sustainable living. Other housing alternatives are the massive residential construction projects underway by foreign developers, resulting in false scarcity and spiraling costs. In response to these deleterious conditions, anarchist activists with a penchant for ecological living have advanced another alternative to the housing crisis through mobile architectural anarchy1. By recycling mobile architecture in the form of abandoned retro-fitted train wagons and traveling in small materially-unencumbered communities, these groups or caravans tend to informally settle or squat in peripheral, discarded environmental areas in cities to advance selfsufficient sustainable lifestyles known as urban homesteading2. These migrant housing pioneers, known as the new hobos3, have embraced their subaltern status, accepted their identity as stateless citizens in permanent exile and advanced nonhierarchical sustainable lifestyles. The analysis will provide a case study of participatory observation at Poland’s eco anarchist caravan collective, describe barriers to collective action, and frame the phenomenon in light of the utility of marginal territorial squatting to inspire European housing policy to expand this egalitarian housing solution for cities in the future.

sustainable living, urban squatting, European Housing Policy, antidevelopment



SAJ Vol. 4, 2012, No. 1