La Friche is an abandoned factory, in the city of Lyon, France, once used by companies, such as, Renault and Berliet. This set of abandoned and deteriorating warehouses, was a strong symbol of the booming Second Industrial Revolution, which took place throughout Western Europe during the early 1900's. After many years of neglect, the 35 000 sq. meters of space became a refuge (squat) for artists, residents, activists in the year 2000. This is quite a common practice in France, where abandoned buildings are used to offer temporary shelter for the homeless, immigrants, and even University Students! Although “squatting” is not a legitimate practice; it is usually done as a political statement. An example of these statements is the fact that 1/3rd of all rentable properties in France are purposely kept off of the market. This system benefits the people who profit from the French housing market, creating a bubble (because of the scarcity), ergo, making prices higher. Therefore, a growing minority of people from all walks of life, find themselves with no viable solution. The French Government has continually fought against the practice of “squatting (which has come seemingly as an effect of the largely unreported french housing crisis), by sending the C.R.S (armored police), and evicting the “squatters” by force. These raids have intensified under President Sarcozy largely due to the World Economic Crisis. Sarcozy has been on a crusade of “Neo-Thatcherism”, since his inauguration in 2007; calling for mass privatization of a once exemplary socialist system.
In 2002, The City of Lyon legitimized the squat (La Friche), authorizing the use of this abandoned industrial site to its residents, for the experimentation of “new artistic territories”.
Fast-forward to Febuary, 2010. The City of Lyon and the Greater Lyon Area, began a relocation process, offering to trade the 35,000 sq. meters of space for a minor 3 500. The denizens of La Friche have been stalling the decision for the past six months, and the City has now announced a deadline to "vacate" the premises before July 31 (which does not meet the deadline of the agreement signed by the City in 2002).
In America, “squatting” is an unthinkable practice. However, recently attempts by churches have been made following the financial crisis, but to no avail.