Informal residence: a transformation of allotment gardens on the outskirts of Budapest as a self-help practice in the face of financial dependence

Lecture by András Vigvári

The lecture is about the theoretical background and practical results of anthropological research carried out in the areas of allotment gardens located on the eastern boundaries of Budapest. The objective of this research was to map the changes of allotment gardens after the crisis of 2008 and their new functions, which occurred as a result of political transformations. In the past two decades, the allotments from the era of socialism have been transformed into permanent residential districts. It was one of the key spatial transformations caused by the crisis in the real estate market in the 1990s, which is associated with the broader issue of transformations in the urban and suburban post-socialist residential districts. In recent years, allotment gardens – the central element of a bunch of informal resources, allowing to cope with the consequences of the crisis – have become a shelter for victims of the financialization of the housing market. Paradoxically, this turn of events of physical circumstances (lack of public infrastructure combined with the impossibility of developing crops or farming) and ambiguous legal solutions (unclear administrative status of allotments) has given an impetus to the transformation them into the tangible ground of fighting against financialization.