Project Description:

Vélez-Málaga is a mid size town of 78,808 inhabitants, located in the province of Málaga (Andalusia). It is the capital of the Axarquía Comarca. The municipality counts eleven localities, including Vélez Málaga city (40,000), Torre de Mar (22,000), Al-Mayate (3,689) and Caleta de Vélez (3,615).

The area has traditionally been characterized by a strong agricultural sector: olive and almonds trees, vegetable gardens and sugar cane plantations surrounded by potatoes and corn. The sugar industry developed in Torre del Mar starting in 1796 and is still marginally present. The 1960s brought the spreading of tourism, both national and international working class residential and vocational tourism. This expansion of the tourist sector is expressed in the town’s coastal landscape until today. By the 1990, a reconfiguration of the economic universe of the town -animated by the European Convergence process- took place. The boom of the construction sector and a second wave of tourism expansion followed the final dismantling of the ancient sugar industry. In agriculture, new export oriented subtropical crops (avocado, mango) substituted old crops, with the subsequent development of other related sectors (industrial food processing [very feminized], warehousing and national-international logistic channels).  This configuration dominates the economic landscape of the town today, even after the crisis that affected the construction sector following the housing bubble bust of 2008.

The interest of the site for the Greco Project is shaped by the confluence of multiple processes:

  • First, the strong dynamism in the area of tourism and agro-export production, which are the two main pillars of the regional division of labor as it affects South European countries.
  • Second, the articulation of the previous point with a high rate of unemployment (more than 30% in 2014) and with the prominence of precarious work (in public and private sectors) as the main source of income for working-classes.
  • And third, the existence of a long-term experience of the crisis as a locally structural phenomenon for the working classes, who tend to relate the actual financial crisis with old time processes of usurious hoarding of lands.


Researcher: Diana Sarkis Fernández