Wednesday 7.09.2022, Vinzi Rast 

We spent our first day at Vinzi Rast-mittendrin, a volunteer-based organisation that aims to give a second chance at life for refugees and formerly homeless people. 

In 2009, during a large student protest in Vienna, a group of students, volunteers and homeless people potted the empty building and wanted to open a community living space.

It was the first time to have a place in Vienna that combines student housing with refugees and homeless people. 

We started the day with a joint breakfast. Our first activity was a blind date. Everyone wore an eye mask and told us the challenge of their own country and the others had to guess which country it was. The participants emphasized that the obstacles are similar in Europe, but still regional in the Balkans. While there are political problems and disagreements in each country, the connections between countries can help overcome these problems and there is a good opportunity to learn from each other. 

Afterwards, there were several presentations prepared by the Vienna team. Ulrika started with the presentation of the Roadmap to Lezha project and the concept of vacancy elaborated in it. The presentation of the theory of vacancy stuck in the minds of the participants as it helped to understand the whole system: the different phases, the different relevant actors in these processes and how important their cooperation is. The Lezha project was the basis for Spatial Justice.

 Then each partner country presented their findings from the research report. Ella then gave us some insights into her research on industrial and military vacant sites in Pula, followed by an idea on how to reactivate these areas. 

After lunch in the restaurant of Vinzi-Rast mittenrin, we started trying out the gamification game. For this we divided the groups into four different roles: the citizen, the owner (of a vacant building or space), the project idea and the task force. The aim of the game was to find a way to form teams consisting of people from all 4 different roles and agree on a specific reuse of the vacant building or space. The gamification on the first day showed the importance of perseverance and the need to keep looking for solutions.