Debating the future of the new Barcelona
Public Debates. February - March 2005. Mondays from 19 to 21 h

MACBA-UPC (part of the UPC Master's Gestió de la ciutat. Programes i projectes Urban Management, Programs and Projects, directed by Jordi Borja).

The idea behind these public debates is to focus on the situation facing the metropolis at the beginning of the new century: the change from the urban model which developed in the 20th Century through some very specific historical conditions, to a new model and a new scale, which still does not seem to have found its discursive or political articulation, despite the fact that the city itself is no longer that of last century.

On the one hand, changes taking place in the "central" city (which is to say the municipality proper) could destroy a physical and social fabric which not only deserves to be preserved but which could – if the transformation were done properly – provide leverage for a whole new development. On the other hand, in Barcelona there is no kind of alignment between metropolitan reality, the political framework and social conscience, which makes any kind of positive intervention in the process of urban renewal very difficult. This city's evolution raises new questions concerning affordable housing, mobility, historical heritage, public spaces, education, facilities and services and so on. These are questions which do not have one single answer: many different and opposing voices must be heard. Nobody, not the politicians in charge or the empowered experts, has sole access to the right answer.

The East of Barcelona's municipal area (what used to be the old municipalities, and which today includes the districts of Sant Andreu and Sant Martí) is the part which is going through the most intense process of urban renewal these days. Work on the waterfront, 22@, the Forum zone, the Plaça de Les Glories, the high-speed train station, the Meridiana "green axis" and so on, are ongoing projects which are changing the social and physical appearance of the city. The major axes of the Meridiana and Diagonal roads, from Les Glories to beyond the city limits, are in some way symbolic of the whole formed by these processes, and they offer one point of view from which to begin a citizens' debate about the future of the city, looking East.

In these debates, the idea is to hear from the local organisations and groups, from researchers and experts on urban development and from those who hold government office, so that they can all contribute to a dialogue which may create confrontation, but also agreement, between the citizens and the city's politicians. The speakers' arguments will be met by a front row of associations, mass media and other central players in urban development.


The debates are divided into three sections.

Firstly, an overall view of the city from its Eastern side, the clearest expression of an industrial city in mid-transformation.
Next, there will be a session covering the connection between urban change and questions relating to social and cultural identity, the idea being to suggest a rethink of the physical, social, educational and cultural heritage and its possible restructuring within the current process of change.
Lastly, there will be two sessions on the two main areas, one which we define as the Diagonal axis – which takes this road as the element which gives form to the Poblenou-Besòs area - and the other dealing with the Meridiana axis, whose driving force in this urban transformation is the Sant Andreu-Sagrera plan and the high-speed train station project.

Another series of debates will follow on the political structuring of the metropolitan area.

The program is subject to last-minute changes.

14 FEBRUARY: Barcelona, from the 20th to the 21st Century.
Speakers: Joan Roca i Albert, Josep Maria Huertas Claveria and Xavier Basiana.
Moderator: Jorge Ribalta

21 FEBRUARY: Heritage, Urban change and Citizenship
Speakers: Manuel Castells, Marina Subirats, Manuel J. Borja-Villel and Miquel Barceló. Moderator: Joan Roca i Albert

28 FEBRUARY: The Diagonal Axis. Taking stock.
Speakers: Ricard Frigola, Salvador Clarós, Lluís Brau, Joaquim Sabaté and Oriol Clos. Moderator: Mercè Tatjer

7 MARCH: The Meridiana axis. New centrality and Citizens' rights.
Speakers: Jordi Hereu, Lluís González, Joan Sabaté, Manuel Herce, Eva Fernández and Eugeni Forradellas. Moderator: Jordi Borja
CLOSING DEBATE: Urbanism and Citizens' Rights


Xavier Basiana, architect
Jordi Borja, town planner
Manuel J. Borja-Villel, director of the MACBA
Lluís Brau, architect
Manuel Castells, sociologist
Salvador Clarós, town planning secretary of Poblenou neighbourhood association
Oriol Clos, director of Plans and urban projects for the City Council of Barcelona.
Eva Fernández, president of FAVB, Federation of Residents' Associations of Barcelona

Eugeni Forradellas, Councillor of Housing for the City Council of Barcelona and the Sant Andreu dictrict president.
Ricard Frigola, CEO, Urban Services and Environment Dept., Barcelona City Council
Lluís González, president of the Sant Andreu de Palomar Neighbourhood Association.
Manuel Herce, Director of Transport and Territory infrastructures Dept., UPC
Jordi Hereu, Sant Andreu district councillor
Josep Maria Huertas Claveria, journalist
Jorge Ribalta, head of public programs, MACBA
Joan Roca i Albert, geographer and historian
Joan Sabaté, architect, Head of the Building Department, La Salle School of Architecture, URL
Joaquim Sabaté, architect and economist
Marina Subirats, Councillor for education of Barcelona City Council and Nou Barris district president
Mercè Tatjer, geographer and historian
Poblenou Residents Association
Sagrera Residents Association
Sant Andreu Nord Tramuntana Residents Association
Sant Andreu Sud Residents Association
Sant Andreu de Palomar Residents Association
Bon Pastor Residents Association
Pi i Margall-Baró de Viver Residents Association
Plaça Mossèn Clapés Residents Association
Diagonal-Maresme-Besòs Organistaion
La Mina disctrict and residents association
FAVB, Federation of Residents' Associations of Barcelona