Lavapiés Project

The Heart-Beat Lavapiés project, led by Levi Shand, has evolved since its initial conception. The first proposal was to try to demonstrate the “essence” of this Madrileño neighborhood, but that objective has changed to put a greater emphasis on the process of gentrification that the neighborhood is currently undergoing.

Gentrification is the name of a process of change or development of a given area of a city. In this process, the original population of a deteriorating and impoverished neighborhood is gradually displaced by another, higher-income population which restores buildings and renews the life of the area. During the process of gentrification, the traditional residents, who have lived many years in the neighborhood, are forced to leave due to the increase in rents and taxes. The businesses of the area also experience this cultural change, as traditional shops (hardware stores, furniture stores, produce shops, etc.) are replaced by organic markets, clothing boutiques and trendy cafes.

One of the areas where this process is most evident is the North American city of San Francisco, where due to a massive influx of engineers and programmers, armed with their Silicon Valley buying power, is creating tensions by displacing traditional occupants and changing the physical appearance of the city.

The Madrid neighborhood of Lavapiés is also undergoing a gentrification process. Immigrants of all nationalities are mixing, while the new middle class, younger and wealthier, slowly displaces the traditional, aging inhabitants of the neighborhood
Crisol Street Photography is currently documenting this process, the mix of the old and new, the social contrasts of a neighborhood in the center of Madrid.