Still without alternative locations, because “renting is impossible and buying is all in the millions”, the future of Arroz Estúdios, Casa Independente, Sirigaita and Sociedade Musical Ordem e Progresso (SMOP) may involve other cities. With the increase in rental and property purchase prices, residents and associations have been forced to change areas of the city or close permanently. This was what happened with the Os Amigos do Minho Excursionist and Recreational Group, in Rua do Benformoso, and the Sport Club do Intendente, in Largo do Intendente, around five years ago, and the Crew Hassan, in the Anjos area, already in 2023.Casa Independente opened 11 years ago in Largo do Intendente, at a time when that was a “forbidden, dangerous area with a lot of social weight that, unfortunately, is now returning”, recalled one of the members of that cultural space, Patrícia Craveiro Lopes, speaking to Lusa.Recently, Patrícia and her partner, Inês Valdez, learned that the building they occupy would be put up for sale and that, therefore, their current lease contract would not be renewed.“We are going to have to leave in about two years. They gave us time to digest, which is complicated. We are looking for a space and it is very, very complicated. Renting is impossible and buying is all in the millions”, he lamented. Since it opened, Casa Independente has been the stage for concerts, exhibitions, book presentations, cinema, round tables, conferences, artistic residencies and performances. “We are a cultural space with an important multidisciplinary approach, especially because we work with emerging artists. 11 years ago, those who were emerging artists are now established artists. It is part of our circle of growth, which we would very much like to continue to have”, she said. For this to happen, they have already considered taking Casa Independente outside of Lisbon. “Of course, because they push us out of the center [da cidade] and out of Lisbon”, lamented this “gem alfacinha”, who as a private tenant has also been forced to abandon that area of the city. Patrícia Craveiro Lopes believes that in order to avoid the closure of the space she manages, as well as others in situation similar, “there has to be some type of regulation, which doesn’t exist”. “We are in the ‘save yourself if you can’ situation. We needed regulation, some kind of statute that would allow us to have some advantages, and be safer, because it is in fact very complicated”, he argued. At Casa Independente, which does not have any state or municipal support, Culture is paid for “ with the glasses” sold at the bar. Still, they turned to Lisbon City Council to try to find an alternative space. “We are in talks. I would like to think it will work, but I don’t have much hope”, he shared. Also “actively speaking” with some local authorities – Lisbon and other neighboring ones – are those responsible for Arroz Estúdios, a space ‘hidden’ behind a wall on Avenida Infante Dom Henrique.The space they occupy has been sold and the landlord has already informed them that they will have a maximum of six months to abandon it. “We still don’t have any space to take the project to. We would prefer to stay in Lisbon, obviously, but perhaps we would also decentralize the project and take it to other areas”, said the manager of the studios and artistic residencies at Arroz Estúdios, Cátia Ciriaco, speaking to Lusa. ‘Arroz’ is a non-profit association that has been in that space since 2019 and has “a practically daily program”, which includes open-air cinema sessions, concerts, ‘live jams’, electronic music events, markets and exhibitions. Furthermore, there are artists’ studios were installed. “It is a space that promotes creation and co-creation between artists”, he highlighted. Finding a space with a similar area will not be easy, but, even so, those responsible for Arroz Estúdios have contacted municipal councils “to see if there is the possibility of a provision of space.” “If it is not possible, we try to see if there is a possibility of renting it, knowing that in Lisbon it is super difficult, not only to find a space of this size, but also with a rent that is bearable for an association like wow”, said Cátia Ciriaco. Sirigaita, an association that welcomes groups and collective projects, on Rua dos Anjos, a stone’s throw from Casa Independente, is also “considering everything”. “When people are no longer living in the city , it’s not by choice, it’s because they can’t find [onde viver]”, said Maria João Costa, a member of Sirigaita, in statements to Lusa. That association, where everyone is volunteers, has already received a letter from the owner of the building to leave, by February, the ground floor that it has occupied since the end of 2018 and where The MOB association space previously operated. Like Sirigaita, “many spaces are at risk now, because of the dynamics of urban change, the change in the neighborhood that everyone knows”, warned Marco Allegra, also a member of Sirigaita. “Com tourism and the entire economy that comes from it, house prices have risen immensely. Tourism brings in a lot of money, but no one paid much attention to the consequences that all this would bring to the population and to the things that the population likes. And I think this is a very big problem in Lisbon today”, he argued. This association’s plan involves “resisting this eviction”, without specifying under what terms. “Not just for us. Many collective spaces have been closing, and many still have their walls bricked up, many years after being empty. We want to resist this phenomenon, which is emptying the city of what is synonymous with life. I believe that is what we are doing here, producing urban life. We bring together people, ideas, it is a crossing point”, stated Maria João Costa. Although it occupies a small space, in addition to hosting projects linked to the Environment, organic fruit and vegetables, Housing and the inclusion of women who use drugs and work in street, Sirigaita has “a very wide range of activities”. “And, on top of that, artistic activities, from artists that we invite to come and exhibit or give concerts. We think there must be spaces like this and we will resist for that reason too”, he said. In another area of the city, near Rua das Janelas Verdes, the plan of Sociedade Musical Ordem e Progresso (SMOP) is also to resist. “This space was purchased for about a year or so for a group. They want to evict everyone to make a hostal”, the president of SMOP, founded in 1898 and which has been on the first floor of a building on Rua do Conde since 1892/93, told Lusa, even before the formalization of the community. city “there were a series of collectives, but nowadays there are only two or three, almost all of them closed due to this leasing policy”, lamented Carlos Melo. SMOP is a non-profit collective, which “works for the community, not only in sport and in culture”. Currently, “sport is at a standstill, because the hall needs a new floor” and the community does not have the funds to repair it. It is the hall that has been hosting, for the last year and a half, a regular programming, SMOP System, which includes theater, concerts and poetry readings. When Lusa visited SMOP, rehearsals were taking place in the hall for the play “Vermelho é a color do meu mourning”, directed by Carla Bolito, which will be on stage between October 25th and November 12th.According to Carlos Melo, the new landlords “have already contacted the Estrela Parish Council and the Lisbon City Council to see if there was a space for SMOP”. “They want to give us 200 thousand euros for the hall [construído pela coletividade, na parte traseira do edifício], so we can leave it. But I don’t care about the money. My objective is not to close the community, to keep it with the activities it has and to increase those that we are not doing because we do not have the means to do so”, he stated.Leaving that area of Lisbon is out of the question: “We have to stay in parish, because the members are from this community. Some went to live far away, but continue to be members, but most of them live here around the community.” Carlos Melo says that, in addition to the members, there are also “new people from hostals” in that area who go to SMOP “to play a snooker, have a drink”.