25 signatures reached
To: Zurich City Council
No construction site on the Juch territory
Against the senseless demolition of cultural space.
Against the backroom deal between the Social Department and the construction giant HRS Real Estate.
The signing people demand from the City of Zurich:
No evacuation or demolition of the Juch-Areal in favour of "building site installations" by HRS real Estate. The area belongs to the city and the city belongs to the people who live there.
For this reason, any new use of the site must benefit all residents of the city and must not just be a non-transparent deal in favor of a construction giant.
Petition is supported by:
- Elena Marti, Gemeinderätin Grüne
- Jasmin Pokerschnig, Kantonsrätin Grüne
- Luca Maggi, Gemeinderat Grüne
- Markus Kunz, Gemeinderat Grüne
- Laura Huonker, Kantonsrätin AL
- Christina Schiller, Gemeinderätin AL
- Nicola Siegrist, Kantonsrat SP
- Christine Seidler, Gemeinderätin SP
- JUSO Stadt Zürich
Why is this important?
The Juch is a squat in Zurich Altstetten, adjacent to it is the construction site of the future Swiss Life Arena, which is being operated by HRS Real Estate AG. The site is owned by the City of Zurich and was used by the AOZ as a pilot project for the new Federal Asylum Centre until summer 2019. After that it was left empty until it was occupied on 31 October 2019.
On the site and in the barracks where guest workers used to be locked up and administered in asylum procedures, cultural and living space has been created. This is organised jointly by the users and residents. On the site there are structures that can be used by all and are accessible free of charge, such as studios, screen-printing workshop, free clothes shop, library, meeting rooms, Wood and metal workshop, band room, radio, concert hall and dinner every Thursday.
For everyone, and especially for people with a refugee or migration background, the Juch is one of the few places where people can meet and organize themselves, free and without the pressure of consumption.
But now the squatters were informed in writing by the property management on 20.4. in the middle of the ongoing corona crisis that they had to vacate the area within 4 days until Friday 24.4. at 24:00.
No comments were made on specific future use plans, which are required for eviction according to the occupation notice of the City of Zurich, even on request, and no comments were made. Other public bodies such as the local council were not aware of this.
Only through political pressure and media attention as well as solidarity actions from the civilian population, on the last day before the eviction, the Social Department was persuaded to announce the future use of the building and to extend the eviction period until 22 May 2020. The reasons for the initial secrecy on the part of the city regarding the plans for the area have thus also become obvious.
The media release of the Social Department of the City of Zurich of 24.4.2020 states "Due to the cramped conditions on the building site the general contractor commissioned by the ZSC (HRS Real Estate) is interested in using the neighbouring site (Juch site) for site installations for a period of about 2.5 years until the end of construction to rent from the city."
Living and cultural space is to make way for two and a half years of building site installations.
This procedure is tantamount to a demolition of stock and is far removed from the City of Zurich's previous good practice in dealing with occupied properties.
The media release also states in this regard: "The City Council considers this use to be appropriate and zoning compliant, taking into account the initial situation". The above-mentioned starting position refers to ground subsidence on the site and apparent damage to the sewage system. Therefore, on the one hand the cost of a possible reorganization is not justifiable for the AOZ and on the other hand it is not possible to allow a longer-term occupation.
Two points regarding this statement:
- Firstly, the lowering of the ground affects a section of one of the barracks on the site. At the beginning of the occupation in November 2019, the squatters* agreed with the AOZ responsible at the time not to use this section. This agreement is still kept, even though the structural engineers present during the inspection were assured that this part was also not in danger of collapsing. This argument against the occupation is invalid.
Secondly, the subsidence of the ground and the apparent damage to the sewerage system were caused by the very adjacent construction site of HRS Real Estate. Only six months ago, the AOZ was therefore seeking an insurance claim with HRS. Why HRS suddenly needs the area and wants to rent it from the city, seems highly questionable.
Therefore the request to the city of Zurich:
No evacuation or demolition of the Juch site in favor of "site installations" by HRS real Estate. The area belongs to the city and the city belongs to the people who live there.
For this reason, any new use of the site must benefit all residents of the city and may not simply be a non-transparent, threaded deal in favor of a construction giant.