One of the most visible sites where community members are asserting their right to the city is Campo de Cebada in the heart of Madrid's city center. Adjacent to the Cebada Market and across the street from the La Latina metro stop, this outdoor space is the result of the tearing down of a sports complex in 2009 and sat empty due to the economic crisis. Following a White Night festival in the space and a subsequent installation in 2010, neighbors wanted to continue using the space for the community, especially since the city was supposed to replace the sports complex with another public space. They organized to discuss how to manage and use the space and to negotiate with the city. Though there were challenges figuring out the management between the city and residents, they eventually reached an agreement. Over the last five years, the space has been transformed through collaborations and projects with collectives of artists and architects like Zuloark and Paisaje Transversal and is now filled with murals, mobile structures for seating and shade, areas for sports and performances, and of course a garden. Though the space, at its core, is a concrete pit, users have brought in greenery through the garden. In raised beds, community members grow potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and more and gardeners meet weekly to coordinate.
The space hosts all sorts of free, open events – workshops, fairs, a basketball league, festivals, concerts. Members of the community share unlocking and locking duties every morning and night and signs around the site let users know that it is self-managed, users are responsible for keeping it clean, and meetings are open. It is a bustling space, popular with the youth but full of people from all walks of life. Architect David Bravo Bordas notes that “Administrators would do well to take note of its spontaneity, challenging the official channels with a committed initiative notable for its transparency, participation and social inclusion.” 3