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August 16, 2022



Local councillor in Czech Republic sparks outrage and petition against installation of "container housing" in Romani neighborhood

13.10.2020 11:52
Romani residents of the Chanov housing estate posted images of themselves holding hearts to social media as an expression of thanks to all front line workers risking their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic in March 2020.
Romani residents of the Chanov housing estate posted images of themselves holding hearts to social media as an expression of thanks to all front line workers risking their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic in March 2020.

A petition against the building of "container housing" is making the rounds of the Chanov housing estate in Most, Czech Republic. The city wants to allow the modular housing units to be installed there.

Several uninhabitable prefabricated apartment buildings in the locality have already been demolished by the municipality. The authors of the petition will be collecting signatures through the end of the month. 

News server was informed of the developments by Ján Chromý, who also pointed out the inappropriate remarks made by the chair of the local assembly's "Commmittee for Mapping and Eliminating Negative Social Phenomena", Jiří Nedvěd. The modular housing project is now ready and, according to the most recent statements by the Mayor of Most, Jan Paparega, city representatives want to present a visualization of the units to the public as soon as possible.   

"The aim of this petition is to stop the construction of these modular units, this tin-can container housing à la Čunek, by the Most City Hall on the Chanov housing estate and to prevent the creation of container settlements on the outskirts of cities all over the Czech Republic," reads the petition, a copy of which was sent to news server by Ján Chromý. According to him, people are concerned that the city will relocate what he called "problematic" residents from all over its territory into the container housing.   

"Residents of the Chanov housing estate have been working for several years now to improve conditions at the housing estate overall and to get rid of its reputation as a ghetto. We are convinced that the City of Most's local assembly plans to relocate problematic residents of problematic streets elsewhere in the city into the tin-can settlements ("container" housing units) being planned for the Chanov housing estate," the petition reads.

Chanov residents, according to the petition, are aware that it is necessary to address the problem of excluded localities on the territory of the City of Most, but in their view, creating what they call "tin-can container settlements" on the city outskirts will not address the problem and will instead just shift it out of sight. The residents are concerned that people living in what they call "problematic streets" in the Most area will refuse to relocate into the "tin-can container housing" and that the city will then attempt to relocate current residents of Chanov into that housing, especially younger people.

The younger generation of Chanov residents, according to Chromý, was born and grew up there when it was already in the state  for which it is known and were not themselves involved with the housing estate's previous devastation; for that reason, they do not deserve to bear the burden of collective blame for what previous generations did, nor do any future generations of Chanov residents. "For that reason, we are asking the Most City Hall to once again revist its uneconomical investment into the tin-can containers. They should consider whether instead a better solution might not be to give a chance to Chanov's young residents to contribute to repairing the existing apartment units in housing blocks no. 6, 10 and part of block 5, a solution that might inspire other cities as well," the petition concludes.  

Chromý said the petition has been signed by 70 people as of today. The authors plan to collect approximately 2 000 signatures before delivering the petition to city representatives.

"In addition to the plan for building container housing, we are disturbed by the remarks of city councillor Mr Jiří Nedvěd, who has expressed himself inappropriately on social media in association with the plan to build the containers," Chromý wrote to news server, according to whom Chanov residents are also disturbed by Nedvěd serving as chair of the municipal assembly's "Committee to Map and Eliminate Negative Social Phenomena". "We believe Councillor Nedvěd's plan for solving the problems on Dobnerova Street in Most could possibly be related to the planned construction of container housing at Chanov," Chromý said, referencing an animated three-minute video posted to YouTube by councillor Nedvěd entitled "Memorandum of Cooperation with Apartment Owners" in which he says the city wants to conclude such a memorandum with the owners of the properties there so that "the City of Most will have an opportunity to influence who is living in the city and to get rid of people who do not respect their neighbors."

ČTK, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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