Urban Social Forum II Declaration: Defending the common goods for the future of cities and territories

Naples, Italy, 6th September 2012

Over 250 local, national and international
inhabitants’ organisations and networks for rights related to habitat, engaged
in the struggle for decent living conditions in cities and territories, participated
in 42 initiatives which were organized as part of the 2nd Urban
Social Forum (USF) in Naples, Italy, from 3-7 September 2012. The USF is completely
independent, self-managed, self-financed and presents an alternative to
UN-Habitat’s sixth World Urban Forum (WUF 6). The USF is collectively
responsible and committed to defending the right to the city, land and common

hereby denounce:

  • The failure of
    neoliberal policies which have led authorities to violate legally recognized
    human rights, to land-grabbing, to the violation of natural resources and
    common goods, resulting in a systemic, environmental, food and urban crisis
    affecting more than 1.2 billion people around the world left without housing
    and without a decent, safe environment; a crisis which is becoming dramatically
    worse with more than 60 million people facing eviction;
  • The threat on the rights
    to a future of inhabitants, all living beings and the ecosystem, inflicted by
    financial globalization which is trying to eradicate democracy in order to get their
    hands on social and natural common goods, an inalienable inheritance of the
    land and the people which has turned the city into a commodity;
  • The role of UN Habitat
    which, through their “Manifesto for Cities”, wants to assume leadership for
    non-democratic and pro-developmental Urban Planning, proposing a partnership
    which hands over authority from the State and Local Authorities to the private
    sector, handing over the keys of the city and land to whoever wants to use it
    to speculate with the false promise of offering necessary financial resources
    for getting out of the Debt Crisis;
  • The waste of public
    funds for WUF Naples, which represents a backward step regarding the Habitat
    Agenda and the WUF Rio 2010, with the exclusion of many important topics from
    the official agenda like evictions, the right to the city based on the social
    functions of property and of the land and on the principle of democratic
  • The stigmatisation of
    the victims of the crisis, who have become indebted by their mortgages and high
    rents who, with precarious work or no jobs, also lose their homes, migrants,
    Roma community, the poor;
  • The criminalization of
    the homeless, who fight for their right to housing, to land and for common
    goods and we demand the immediate release of the 2 activists, Tim Sak Mony
    (Borei Keila) and Yorm Bopha (Boeung Kake) imprisoned this week in Phnom Penh

We want to contribute through solidarity to the rebuilding of beautiful and inhabitable cities and lands open to
all inhabitants, designed based on the principal of “good living” and on the
Global Charter for the Rights to the city.

We underline our commitment to participatory and direct participation, the defence and
participative management of common goods, the rebalancing of the
city-countryside relationship, the social functions of property and food
sovereignty, claiming the right to their defence through responsible

We demand urban and social housing policies based on a social, urban pact which
is an alternative to the neoliberal paradigms, i.e. their individual and
collective rights and the rights of inhabitants to be creators of a community
which respects diversity, a basic condition for a future living in harmony with
nature, non client-users of the land.

We demand the recovery of the necessary resources for implementing these policies
for social and anti-speculative use of public property, in support of
self-management and the know-how of inhabitants, for progressive taxation of
the real-estate markets, in particular of vacant property, to be released from
the stranglehold of sovereign debt.

We propose a policy against the commoditization of cities, for the rights of their
inhabitants to participate in their social production and for equitable
distribution of wealth.

We fight for democratic management of the city, direct participation from its
inhabitants in the design, implementation and control of policies and of the
public budget.

We demand that the projects which have a negative impact on the lives of
inhabitants be preceded by, compulsory and binding, social and environmental impact
studies, and based on participation.

We take on as our own the struggles for the right to housing and to the city of Naples
inhabitants organisations, in particular against evictions of tenants and those
with mortgages, against expulsions of Roma, for the demolition of the Vele
building and the social and urban recovery of the Scampia neighbourhoods, to
make water services public again, as shown by the 27 million Yes votes in the
2011 referendum, for the public management and against assigning social housing
to the real-estate company Romeo, for the defence of beaches for all, all these
being key factors for freeing the city from the mafia and corruption.

We support the struggle for the rights to housing, to the city and to land of
common goods in Italy and across the world, launching a call to mobilize
through solidarity and bringing together of organizations and inhabitants’
networks and for the right to habitat and to the city at the local and
international level, inviting the local authorities and other bodies which
share the USF principles to commit to this topic, contributing to the
elaboration of an open agenda:

  • World Habitat Day – for
    the right to habitat (October)
  • Gathering of 1million
    signatures for Public Management of common goods (European Citizens Initiative)
  • Africa Social Forum (Kinshasa,
    17-20 January 2013)
  • World Inhabitants
    Assembly (WSF Tunisia, 23-28 March 2013)

For further information:

organizing committee: