Research database

TAKEBACK - Environmental gentrification and emerging collectives in uncertain times

36 months (2026)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
UE-funded research - HE - Excellent Science - MSCA
Funding body:
Project identification number:
PoliTo role:


In the Global North in the face of the looming threats of manifold environmental “crises”, there is an increasing sense of urgency to enhance cities’ sustainability. Yet, top-down paradigms of urban regeneration can contribute creating enclaves of environmental privilege, thereby excluding lower income and minority groups from their benefits. Much recent scholarly debate has focused on the multiple effects of evictions and displacements, as well as on active practices of resistance. But what happens if, after years of protests, grassroots groups become the main actors in processes of collective re-appropriation and management of urban spaces? TAKEBACK is an anthropological study of emerging forms of collective care at a moment where the interlocking crises of capitalism, democracy, and the environment have become more apparent than ever before. It follows a comparative case study design, through the analysis of different urban mobilizations focused on the collective reappropriation and/or use of ex-industrial areas, in North America (Montreal, Canada) and Europe (Turin, Italy). It is based on in-depth ethnographic research, which will include the analysis and production of visual materials. By exploring evolving practices and understandings of care within activism, TAKEBACK will contribute to debates on the shifting meanings of urban citizenship in an increasingly vulnerable world. The project will be based at Polytechnic of Turin, with an outgoing phase at Concordia University, Montreal. TAKEBACK will allow me to gain new knowledge in the areas of urban geography and visual ethnography, to combine this with my previous expertise in political anthropology and ethnographic research, and it will act as a pilot for my own ERC starting grant. Ultimately, the project will expand theoretical and practical knowledge about grassroots solutions to the challenge of building more equal and sustainable urban environments.



  • Concordia University


ERC sectors

SH3_3 - Social integration, exclusion, prosocial behaviour
SH3_2 - Inequalities, discrimination, prejudice, aggression and violence, antisocial behaviour

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 11. Rendere le città e gli insediamenti umani inclusivi, sicuri, duraturi e sostenibili


Total cost: € 280,202.88
Total contribution: € 280,202.88
PoliTo total cost: € 280,202.88
PoliTo contribution: € 280,202.88

Communication activities