1. Introduction: What makes Barcelona so unique?
3. The Grid: Is Barcelona's expansion plan over-rationalized?
12. Franqo: Population rising
15. La Mina: The Creation of a New District - 'The district without law'
20. The Barcelona Model: The dilemma between capital gain and citizens needs
23. 22@Barcelona Project: The 'engine' of economic development
28. Conclusion: Concluding thoughts on the Barcelona Model
31. Cited Photographs
32. Appendix 1: La Mina Transformation Plan
33. Appendix 2: The Barcelona Regeneration Model Consensus
35. Appendix 3: 22@Project: Reasons to Invest
37. Appendix 4: Chronology of Barcelona
What makes Barcelona an exemplar city model and is this justified?
Introduction: What makes Barcelona so unique?
Barcelona's successful development has been discussed in depth by academics and the professional
media. This successful story of Barcelona is said to be the result of the 'Barcelona Model'. However, it
is not easy to find a universal consensus on the interpretation, of what the 'Model' actual is. Some
authors define the Barcelona Model, by focusing on its design issues and its qualities of public urban
spaces, whilst others highlight the Barcelona Model as an instrument or a strategy capable of
managing 'unique flagship events', like the 1992 Olympic Games, which uses them as leverage for
urban renewal and regeneration.1
Both versions interpret the Barcelona Model as a singularity, something somewhat unique in the field
of international urbanism, but to what extent can the Barcelona Model be considered as a unique
phenomenon? This dissertation seeks to analytically explore Barcelona through its interesting history
to its famous present day; in order to better understand what it is, which makes Barcelona such an
exemplar 'model' of modern urbanism?
Barcelona's recent political and cultural history, and its relative compactness, makes this city an
excellent study for examination of both questions: of identity and culture. Architecture is the ideal
medium through which to explore these issues: Barcelona is an extravagant cultural expression,
extremely influenced by the aesthetically articulated fashions, trends and ideals, and also at the same
time it is deeply affected by its customs and traditions, meaning its geography, economics, political
and social movements.2 Architecture is an excellent way to observe the history and the growth
patterning of a place. It provides crystalized manifestations or time-capsulated moments of history.
Providing us with a way in to observing how the people of the past lived and inhabited the land.
Barcelona's architecture is characterized by its duality of influences; relating to its local (or its
FRANCISCO-JAVIER., From ‘Reconstruction’ To Strategic Urban Projects, 1979 –
B & ESSEX., S. Urban development through hosting international events: a history of
the Olympic Games. Planning Perspectives.1999. 369–394. !
countries) characteristics whilst remaining in impulsive dialog to the contemporary European
architectural and modernist world. Barcelona's architecture comprises of an ever-increasing
experimental collection of buildings, which make up an intriguing case study and a focus for reference
for the continuing discussion on modernity and identity. What makes Barcelona such a great example?
And why is this city wired to succeed and conditioned stand out from the rest?
The Grid: Is Barcelona's expansion plan over-rationalized?
The Industrial revolution was late to get going in Barcelona, but the response was excellent once the
correct conditions were put in pace and everything was set in motion. The locals' employment history
as merchants allowed many to adjust their commercial and home manufacturing tradition to the new
needed situation. The historians Josep Termes and Jordi Nadal have pointed out how, 'on the one
hand, the rural population, accustomed to home industry, adapted easily to factory conditions, while,
on the other hand, the agile merchant was prepared to take risks (as he always had) in a family
industry, assuming the role of the capitalist, manager and technician at the same time'.3
Barcelona started trading with the Americas again and this trade route was expanded quite
significantly after Seville's official monopoly came to an end in 1778. Much cotton was imported from
Cuba and many Catalans settled in Cuba, which enhanced the trade connections. Textile industries
really started to grow fast and many factories development along the Ter and Llobregat rivers. With
the invention of the steam engine in 1833, industry, in general, grew enormously in the cities and
along the coast. As well as textiles there were many industries of bricks, ceramics, glass, paper,
leather, shoes, machinery, automotive, graphic arts, perfumes, regasification of natural gas and
chemical products. Coal was one of the industries prime sources of energy; and it was imported. The
industrial growth, as well as prosperity, also caused great pressure on the land, not only on housing
because of the increased population rate but also on its infrastructure: its services and institutions.
Before the industrial revolution and therefore the population boom, military and political reasons had
prevented the people with influence in Barcelona to expand the city. Only after continuous popular
pressure the central government were convinced. Then the demolition of the medieval walls began
(1854). All surrounding fields of the city and the town were always, up until this time, kept clear as
agricultural land, clear for the firing of cannons, and as military owned land. But before any expansion
of the city took place, there was an immediate need for a survey map, which was then drawn up by the
Catalan civil engineer, Iledfon Cerdá (1855). This was the first topological map of Barcelona and its
D., Modern Architecture in Barcelona (1854 - 1939). 1985. The Anglo-Catalan Society,
University of Sheffield. 12.
surroundings. This map was then used by developers to propose various expansion plans. The first
expansion proposal was by the city architect Miquel Garriga in 1857. He wanted to build on either side
of the tree lined road which connected the urban centre of Barcelona to the nearby neighboring, now
encompassed town, Gracia, with a grid of 200 metres by 400 metres with streets ten to twenty metres
wide, with two proposed crescents at either end. These plans did not convince the city council. At this
same time Baron Haussmann was transforming Paris for Napoleon and Vienna also began to demolish
its walls (1857). Barcelona always had ambitious intentions, and to compete with its European
counterparts; the city council decided to introduce the project as a competition, which would guarantee
better results. In 1859, an important law changed which allowed for the ability to purchase the large
area of military property and land, existing as the fields surrounding the city. This allowed the full
expansion of Barcelona. The competition based on Cerdá's survey, was won by Antoni Rovira (18451919). 'His plan proposed a development in a series of trapezium sectors branching out around the old
city, containing lengthening parallel streets 12m wide, hinged together by wide radial avenues
between each sector. The concept was hierarchical, with major and minor spaces and streets. Heavily
influenced by the 'Baroque dominance and display'.4 Previous to this, following 1855, Cerdá after
completing his ordinance topological survey of Barcelona, went on to create a social survey of
Barcelona.5 In this study Cerdá analyzed different groups based on income and living expenses it also
looked at the dwellings and streets. He discovered, in terms of housing, that the rich enjoyed 21m! per
person, but craftsmen were limited to only 12m! and labourers to 8 m!. From this Cerdá discovered
that the labourers paid more rent per metre than the rich did. This direct contact with the reality of the
urban conditions through his pioneering field-study obviously tempered Cerdà's political attitude. His
understanding of these urban conditions showed later in his theoretical writings6, which shows how he
was thinking in terms of communications, density, housing conditions, social and neighborhood
grouping with social and public services: which he deemed as fundamentally important. In February
1859, Cerdá was confidentially commissioned by the Madrid Government to come up with a drawn
plan for the reformation and the expansion of Barcelona. He was asked to do this just two months
before the Barcelona city council published its results for its own competition. Cerdà's Plan rejected
D., Modern Architecture in Barcelona (1854 - 1939). 1985. The Anglo-Catalan Society,
University of Sheffield. 13.
&!Iledfon Cerdá's cultural survey was called the 'Monografia de la clase obrera de Barcelona en 1856'!
'!Iledfon Cerdá's!theoretical writings 'Teoria general de la urbanización' (1867).!
the old hierarchical order of the Baroque city and opted for a more egalitarian and democratic model
without class differentiation. In this sense it was a reapplication of neo-classical values. Shocked by
the decadence, inhumanity and insanitary conditions of the industrial revolution, but at the same time
as an engineer committed to science. Cerdà was inclined to seek the ideal through reason. Cerdá
divided the new territory into a democratic grid proposing an economic simplicity and a universal
modular building methodology. An ideal, ruthlessly simplified, full of blunt and uncompromising
Fig 1: Cerdá's original conceptual plan. Note: the figure ground layout of the blocks, which are not
closed-in: the light brown is open public space.
The ideology of Cerdá's plan highly considered the need to design cities for people and improve on all
things including health issues, not limiting the term 'health' to physical health, but going beyond this
concept, by putting forward proposals which take into account mental and social health. These issues
raised the needs for buildings, which Cerdá designed as being properly separated from one another and
with the rule that they must not have a greater height than the width of streets. This was justified by
the need to let sunlight to enter into the streets without hindrance from the buildings themselves.7
Another issue was the width of these buildings; the houses would have to have views to the front and
(!Therefore the streets should be 20m wide and the height of buildings should not exceed 16m.!
rear facades,8 which together with the previous rule on the width of the streets, would allow good
ventilation and the presence of the sun in all homes. Ventilation and the presence of the sun were two
issues which Cerda considered as absolutely crucial in preserving the health of the people. Cerdá's
plan put particular emphasis to the issue of recreation, especially to the needs of children and the
elderly, in this sense, the city blocks were created, they had to be square, but they must only be built in
on two of their four sides. Leaving the rest of the space available for neighborhood gardens and public
space, thus the children do not have to travel for their games and the elderly for their walks. Therefore
the existence of these spaces would decrease accidents by preventing children from playing in the
pathways and roads where there were circulating carriages and later cars. Within the idea of social
health; self-designed sustainable neighborhoods were created; buildings which frame a large park, a
municipal market, and a balanced distribution of all types of services and shops for each area, each
block acting as a self-contained village.
'Cerdà's plan is neo-classic in its 'Spartan' simplicity and it is an obvious rejection of the Baroque
concept of the city. But it is at the same time it is Utopian in its bold scientific projection into the
future. Its understanding and integration of urban sociology can be qualified as 'realistic'.9
His design is strict, uniform and rational, but I do not think it is over-rationalized, but it is very
pragmatic, both in its geometry and in its sociological awareness of urban necessities. Everything in
the design has a reason: for example, the grid is tilted at 45 degree to the meridian to obtain the
maximum sunlight, and geometrically, the angles of each island block are cut off, chamfered at 45°
again, to form octagonal squares with corner facades at each street intersection.10 Cerdà introduced this
octagonal form to allow for turning circles of public transport and vehicles, (which he envisioned as
well as steam tramways) and they are used for space for loading and unloading goods, which too
works very well today.
)!The width of the buildings should not exceed 14m.!
*!MACKAY, D., Modern Architecture in Barcelona (1854 - 1939). 1985. The Anglo-Catalan Society,
University of Sheffield. 15.
"+!The corner facades of the city block's have a width of 20m.!
Fig 2: Barcelona postcard 2007. Note: the diagonal routes which cut through the grid. These were
existing routes (Rhonda's), which connected towns like Gracia to the original Barcelona centre. Now
all is encompassed as one.
There is a presence of some sort of special character or element that does not follow the grid layout,
because diagonally across it exists other roads, which do not follow the grid.11 The irregular roads
were drawn up corresponding to, and respecting, the old existing roads to neighboring towns. For
example; The Paseo de Gracia, a grand road, which respects the old path from Old Barcelona to
Gracia (a neighboring town). Originally this passage, now road, evolved from a path taken along the
natural stream of spring water.12 The grand road of Paseo de Gracia, now lined with many expensive
designer shops is a much wider road than the others on the grid. The design of grid then compromises
itself and produces only two consecutive streets where there should have been three. Also the Paseo
de Gracia, is not exactly parallel to the rest of the streets which makes the city grid. There are many
other irregularities to the grid: the Avenida Diagonal, in this case a new concept; the fast-lane, for ease
of transport, runs from one corner of the grid diagonally across it to the other side. The Diagonal takes
priority and cuts through the blocks. These cause irregularities in the shape of the blocks as the
Diagonal takes prominence and slices through everything in its path. On first inspection from the map
""!Avenida Diagonal, Avenida Meridiana, Calle Pedro IV, and others!
"#!Hence the name 'promenade'; 'Along the water'.!
the grid may appear to be repetitive, but as well as the irregularities caused by the chamfers and
existing routes, also at the street level, exists the architecture itself. The grid is there as guidelines and
within it, are many different expressions of architecture with juxtapositions caused by the
experimentations of space and design. From the street level the experience really is not 'same same'. It
Cerda arranged the city blocks with various typological configurations. Within the space of each
block, Cerdá conceived of two basic ways to design the buildings, one had two parallel blocks located
on opposite sides, leaving inside a large rectangular space for public gardens and the other had two
blocks united in a 'L shape' located on two adjacent sides of the block, leaving the rest as also a great
space for a garden or square. This would create two perpendicular streets and therefore, when together,
four gardens in one.
Fig 3: Cerdá's origanal Figure Ground drawing of his ideal Barcelona. Note: the figure ground
layout of the blocks, which are not closed-in: the light brown is open public space.
Cerdá's proposal for a building principle consisting of strips that could alternate in direction per block,
simple as it may seem, it created virtually inexhaustible possibilities for variation. It is this, which
created Barcelona's incredibly rich pattern of urban space. This scheme of inexhaustible possibilities is
certainly not over-rationalized. Cerdà's plan was a huge important step for Barcelona towards a
modern Catalonia, totally free from all past references, designed for a new society. Cerdá was
extremely forward thinking; proposing a city wide network of public gardens, decades before
anywhere else, which today is an urban design, 'green' or 'eco-masterplaning', objective: creating
green corridors and breathable public space. Cerdá's plan is a new city form for a new civilisation.
Consequently influencing the design of the future buildings along these similar terms: new
architecture for a new civilisation.
Fig 4: Cerdá's constructed plan 2010. Note: Gualdi's Sagrada Familia occupying one block and
adjacent gardens occupying 2 blocks. This photograph shows the flexibility and the irregularities of
Cerdá's plan. Also note the new density compared to the original, idealism proposed by Cerdá shown
in his original figure ground. The blocks have been modified organically to fit a changing city. Some
green space does exit! But relatively not much compared to the original plan.
Cerdá's plan identified a garden city with large open spaces, buildings separated by wide streets and
with no difference between the social classes; all the streets must be equal. This combination of
circumstances caused the bourgeoisie of the time to deem his proposal as nonsense. There was a clear
conflict of interests between the parties. The protests of the bourgeoisie with their political influence
wanted to reject the plan and revert to Rovira i Trias originally approved scheme where there was a
clear separation of social classes and buildings had a higher density. Despite the protests, Cerdá's plan
was adopted and continued immediately because it was enforced by royal decree from the Madrid
Government. However the Barcelona city 'Fathers' and the landowners saw their potential to capitalize
on this new development severely limited. Arguments and speculative activities arose, trying to get
more space built upon. Therefore Cerdá himself, in 1863, was forced to severely increase the density
of the buildable area.13 Next the opposition strongly suggested to have low buildings built in the centre
of the blocks; designed in most cases for small workshops and cottage industries, which with it sadly
caused the disappearance of most of the central gardens. As a last resort the opposition insisted to
increase the built volume area even more, so the two sides of the blocks came together and buildings
were constructed that united, completely closing, the cities blocks. And it is this that has stopped us
from ever experiencing Cerdá's true vision today. The architect 'Puig i Cadafalch' ironically said,
'Cerdà's plan was better than its development'. With the knowledge of Cerdá's original vision and
intentions, it is evident that his plan was severely altered. There is relatively limited public space
within the grid; the blocks are closed and in places it feels like block after block of density, difficult to
distinguish one street from the next. Cerdá's chamfers do exist and give space for car drivers (as he
envisioned). But the streets are narrower, than planned, and the buildings higher, therefore his scheme
for sunlight and space, therefore psychological well being, has too been compromised. The complete
closing-in of the blocks was totally against Cerdá's intentions and it is this manipulation of power and
greed, which makes Cerda's plan seem over-rationalized; it is not his. Cerda's plan Utopian. The
"$!!The first change was that if the streets were 20 feet wide (instead of 20 metres), he could increase
the width of the buildings to fit the original distance.!
Fig 5: Google Streets view of a typical street within the grid. Note: the new height of the buildings
leaves big shadows for the local people. However the successful chamfers create a large open space:
allowing sun to enter and allow vehicles to maneuver the crossroads with great ease. Maybe post
Cerdá, in light of new knowledge that too much sun is unhealthy, the originally unintended shade can
be seen a positive factor, contributing to Cerdá's intention for psychological well being.
Although for decades there was resentment by the people of Barcelona and although the final result
that we know today of the Eixample (expansion) of Barcelona has undergone many modifications to
the originally proposed plan by Cerdá. No one would doubt today that Cerdá's plan imposed, by
decree, then modified by greed, was better than the one approved in the contest, and the rest of the
alternatives presented at the time. The modifications to the plan, although originally for capital gain,
have played a necessary role in housing the population of the city which, increased rapidly in the years
Franqo: Population rising
In the 1920's Barcelona was the fastest growing city in Europe. Modernisation and industrialisation
were proceeding at a rapid pace. The population of Barcelona expanded by 62 per cent during that
decade. The rapid growth of the city led to a serious housing shortage and a rapid rent inflation that
had rent rising up to 150% in many areas. The severe shortage of housing also led to serious problems
of overcrowding and deterioration in the kind of housing available to the working class. Although
there were some large-scale private apartment blocks or 'estates', much of the housing was provided by
a huge group of small property owners. The main landlords' organisation, the Chamber of Urban
Property, had over 97,800 members in the province of Catalonia. Shantytowns began to appear on the
outskirts of the city. But these were not shanties built by the residents but by the landlords who built
substandard dwellings while the authorities looked the other way. By 1927 it was estimated that over
6,000 shanties had been built in Barcelona, housing 30,000 people, with more in surrounding towns. In
the older parts of Barcelona many flats or houses were cut up into tiny units. Often the landlords
refused to provide water hookups for these new units, even though the city building codes had
required running water since at least 1891. By 1933 it was estimated that 20,000 flats or houses in
Barcelona lacked running water. Migrants from nearby regions were flooding into the city to take jobs.
By the 1930s the province of Catalonia, with about 6 million residents, contained about 70% of the
manufacturing capacity of Spain. Barcelona had become Spain's largest city by 1.5 million people.
Barcelona was preparing to host the People's Olympiad14 during the summer of 1936, building the
Olympiad Stadium and developing the Montjuïc area, but the revolt of the army threw Spain into civil
war. Several of the athletes who had arrived for the Games stayed to form the first of the Republican
International Brigades, made famous by the writers Ernest Hemingway [who acted as a Civil War
journalist] and George Orwell who wrote Homage to Catalonia15 [comprising of his personal
The People's Olympiad was a planned international multi-sport event that was intended to take place
in Barcelona. It was conceived as a protest event against the 1936 Summer Olympics being held
in Berlin during the period of Nazi rule. Despite gaining considerable support, the People's Olympiad
was never held, as a result of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Barcelona would later host
the 1992 Summer Olympics, a decade after the Spanish transition to democracy that followed the end
of the Franco regime.
"&!Homage to Catalonia is political journalist and novelist George Orwell's personal account of his
experiences and observations in the Spanish Civil War. The only translation published in Orwell's
lifetime was into Italian, in December 1948. In the book Orwell describes the atmosphere
in Barcelona as it appears to him at this time. "The anarchists were still in virtual control
experiences during Civil War]. The city, and Catalonia in general, were resolutely Republican. As the
power of the Republican government and the Generalitat (Catalan Government) diminished, much of
the city was under the effective control of anarchist groups. The anarchists lost control of the city to
their own allies, the Stalinists and official government troops, after the street fighting of the Barcelona
May Days. At the height of the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona was bombarded for three days beginning
on March 16th, 1938. Under the command of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Italian aircraft
stationed on Majorca attacked 13 times dropping 44 tons of bombs, aimed at the civil population.
These attacks were at the request of General Franco as retribution against the Catalan population. The
medieval Cathedral of Barcelona was bombed and more than one thousand people died, including
many children. The city finally fell into Nationalist hands on January 26, 1939.16
Barcelona's resistance to Franco's coup d'état was to have lasting effects after the defeat of the
Republican government. The autonomous institutions of Catalonia were abolished and the use of the
Catalan language in public life was suppressed and forbidden, although its use was not formally
'illegalised' as often claimed. Barcelona remained the second largest city in Spain, at the heart of a
region, which was relatively industrialised and prosperous, despite the devastation by the Civil War.
The result was a large-scale immigration from poorer regions of Spain (particularly Andalucía, Murcia
and Galicia), which in turn led to rapid urbanisation. The district of Congrés was developed for the
International Eucharistic Congress (1952), while the districts of El Carmel, Nou Barris, El Verdum
and Guinardó were developed later in the same decade. Barcelona's suburbs, such as L'Hospitalet de
Llobregat, Bellvitge, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Adrià de Besòs, and Badalona, also saw a
dramatic population increase, often tenfold over a single decade. The increase in the population led to
the development of the metro network, the tarmacking of the city streets, the installation of traffic
lights and the construction of the first rondas (ring roads). The provision of running water, electricity
and street lighting also had to be vastly improved, if not always fast enough to keep up pace with the
of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing. It was the first time that I had ever been in a
town where the working class was in the saddle... every wall was scrawled with the hammer and
sickle... every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized." "The Anarchists"
(referring to the Spanish CNT and FAI) were "in control", tipping was prohibited by workers
themselves, and servile forms of speech, such as "Señor" or "Don", were abandoned.
"'!PRESTON, P., The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge. Harper Perennial, UK. 2006.
rising population. The massive immigration made Barcelona extremely densely populated,17 often
housed in very poor quality accommodation. This mass immigration also contributed to the decline in
the specifically Catalan culture of Barcelona. While the use of Catalan in private was tolerated in the
later years of the dictatorship, the immigrants of Barcelona spoke only Spanish. Catalan-language
education was unavailable, even if there had been any social pressure to learn the local language
(which was far from the case in urban areas).
The rapid immigration of the city led to a serious housing shortage and a rapid rent inflation that had
rent rising up to 150% in many areas. The severe shortage of housing also led to serious problems of
overcrowding and deterioration in the kind of housing available to the working class. The city relied
overwhelmingly on the private real estate market to provide housing. There was some public housing;
inexpensive concrete buildings, but only 2,600 units had been built. This public housing development
is known as La Mina.
"(!Barcelona's density was 1,557,863 inhabitants, 15,517 per km! in 1970. !
La Mina: The Creation of a New District - 'The district without law'
Fig 6: La Mina highlighted in red. Set aside from Barcelona, but new developments on encroaching.
The neighborhood of La Mina belongs to the town of Sant Adria Besos on the outskirts of the city of
Barcelona. Until the end of the 1960's La Mina was little more than an area of cultivated fields and
livestock. La Mina, from the view from the motorway were just scattered hamlets just outside the city
limits. Barcelona was experiencing very high immigration from the less developed areas of Spain,
particularly Andalucía. The immigrants arrived in the city with minimal resources leading to the
growth of some of the largest shantytown constructions in the entire country. Shacks sprung up in
many peripheral parts of the city18. Barcelona had been looking for a solution to this serious
shantytown problem since the end of the 1950's. A planned 'new town' in the district was approved in
at this time, but never realized. It was not until 1968 that land was purchased by the Barcelona Council
for the construction of low-rent housing in the area, now called La Mina. Construction of this slum
clearance project began in 1969, but was quickly brought to a halt after the completion of only
")!Shanty towns and shacks sprung up in many peripheral parts of the city including Montjuic, Campo
de La Bota, Perona, Casa Antúez, l'Hospitalet and Hospital de St. Pau.
approximately 500 apartments when the city council realized that the size of the blocks would not
permit the relocation of all the shantytown residents. This first development in the district is
subsequently known as 'Mina Vieja' (Old Mina). A rapid remodeling of the development plan allowed
for a far greater density of development on the remaining land with the construction of 2,100 further
apartments, specifically for the 'chabolistas' (shantytown dwellers).19
Fig 7: In 1970-1: The construction of 2,600 units, built with official protection under a social housing
In April 1971, the Council offered the opportunity for the 'chabolistas' to move to 'Mina Nueva' (New
Mina) on the fulfillment of three conditions; They already resided in an officially recognized
Barcelona shantytown, they paid 30,000 pesetas (£150) as an entry deposit, and they promised to pay a
small monthly rent for 24 years, all of which would then give them the right of ownership of the
property. The number of applications received greatly exceeded the number of planned homes. A
"*!Consorci del Barri de La Mina, Transformation of the Neighbourhood of La Mina. BCN. 2009. 7.
census at the time revealed that the number of people housed in the district was dangerously high.20
20% of the population was gypsy in origin, with high levels of social deprivation, including very high
rates of illiteracy. This all quickly made the area infamous with newspaper headlines such as: 'La
Mina: district without law' and 'La Mina: dangerous area'.21
The 'Gitano's' (Gypsies) are a Roma people inhabiting Portugal, Spain and Southern France. They are
an ethnic group with highly controversial origin.22 In La Mina, it has been estimated that 35% of the
local population are of Roma origin. Since their legacy of mass migration from Andalucía during the
50's and because of their nomadic lifestyle, there has been a great deal of mutual distrust between the
La Mina Gitano’s and local Spanish. The La Mina dwellers, in general, are heavily, and perhaps
unfairly, stigmatized. Views such as; 'La Mina is the badlands, the outlaw territory or the district
without law', are common.23 La Mina has attracted immigrants and people in poor economic positions,
as they are able to afford the cheap life in the neighborhood. When the lower social economic groups
improve their economic situation they move into higher quality housing leaving the vacant lesser
housing for lower class citizens. Culturally based differences in attitudes towards civic-responsibility,
and the role of education and employment, particularly within the neighborhood’s large gypsy
community, will take time to change.
Fig 8: The painted sign says, 'Referendum of course'. Note: The potential public space is being used as
a dumbing ground.
#+!La Mina's population totaled 15,133 inhabitants, living at a density of 5.6 persons / dwelling (1974).!
#"!EL PUNT, Barcelona Newspaper articles headlines.
##!Gitano’s are probably most well known for their Flamenco music.!
#$!DAVID, W., Geography An Integrated Approach, 3rd Edition, Nelson Thornes, USA. 2000. 253.
La Mina suffers from an urban layout, which has created enclosed streets within a fortress-like setting,
marginalizing itself from the outside world. The population and housing densities are extremely high.
Homes are of a poor quality and with very limited living space. It has above average numbers living in
conditions of poverty, with illiteracy levels at 25%. Unemployment, employment in the informal
sector and absenteeism from school were all very high. The degradation of the community has been
intense, with high crime rates and serious social fracturing. As the residential quality gets worse so
does the environmental quality. La Mina has been caught in a spiral of decline and is now what is
known as 'sink estate'.24 Public intervention was unable to produce an improvement in the social
situation. Each public administration (state, autonomous and local) had their own intervention plan in
accordance with their competencies, but the interventions were made without any long-term planning.
There were action plans, but without sufficient capacity to provide an in-depth and long-term answer
to the problems of the neighborhood. This unfortunate legacy has left La Mina today with the greatest
social deprivation within the Barcelona metropolitan area.
Fig 9: The elongated mega-blocks of poor condition housing units creates enclosed streets within
themselves; where crime and criminal activity takes place; socially excluding themselves from the rest
of the neighbourhood and city at large. Plans are underway to cut through the centre of these blocks,
at ground level, creating a relief flow: a way in and out to their centres.
#%!DAVID, W., Geography An Integrated Approach, 3rd Edition, Nelson Thornes, USA. 2000. 198-99
La Mina Transformation Plan
“There are two goals; the first is to change the image of La Mina from the inside, and the second is to
change the image from the outside.”25 The La Mina Transformation Plan was provided with an
unprecedented 55 million euros to finance the project. The aim of the Transformation Plan was to
provide solutions to the deficiencies and problems that exist in the neighborhood.26 La Mina District
Renovation Plan is a global and integrated project centred on improving the quality of life and the
public space. Socially, the project’s fundamental goal is the employment integration of groups at risk
of social exclusion, through programs that are adapted to respond to the different problems and needs
of the local people. As regards the public space, the plan aims to remove architectural barriers for
greater connectivity within the district and to open up the district to its surrounding environment. At
the same time, the plan endeavors to improve peaceful coexistence and to generate public spirit among
the local people. The Mayor of the district, Jesus Maria Canga said:
"(The project) assumes the entry of new people into the district which will not allow it to be a social
ghetto... The creation of new open spaces within La Mina will create focal points for positive social
interactions between people from neighboring streets and thereby promote social and community
The district of La Mina is a warning: when the poor is cast aside, it becomes poorer and more
dangerous. Fortunately, La Mina has been noticed. Already the zone shows signs of big change. Such
as: the construction of external lifts for the big housing blocks, new schools and a police station
amongst others. The proposed plans are spread out throughout La Mina, but will take numerous years
to come into effect. The La Mina Development Plan follows the Barcelona Model: 'Change the area,
change the people' approach. The transformation plan complies with the numerous principles from
The Barcelona Model Consensus.28
#&!Quotation from a!public conference; A Consorci (Government) member. !
#'!Consorci del Barri de La Mina, Transformation of the Neighbourhood of La Mina. BCN. 2009. 40.
#(!Barcelona Newspaper articles quotations. 2001. ‘The plan aims to wash the face of the district and
give it a stomach-pump’ (La Vanguardia, 28.04.01).‘The change in image of La Mina is more
important than the actual physical changes; breaking the stigma will assist its development’ (El
Periódico, 23.04.01). ‘The project is ambitious but achievable’ (El Punt, 28.04.01).
#)!See Appendix 2, for The Barcelona Model Consensus.
The Barcelona Model: The dilemma between capital gain and citizens needs
The death of Franco in 1975 brought on a period of democratisation throughout Spain. The pressure
for change was particularly strong in Barcelona. The people of the city considered, with much
justification, that they had been punished for nearly the forty years, by Franco for their support of the
Republican government. Massive, but peaceful, demonstrations consisting of over a million people,
took place on the streets of Barcelona,29 calling for the restoration of Catalan autonomy.30 It was
granted less than a month later. Further development of Barcelona was promoted by two events; the
Spanish accession to the European Community,31 and particularly Barcelona's designation as host city
of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The process of urban regeneration, in the run up to the Oylimpics, was
extremely rapid, and the results, greatly increased the city's international reputation as a tourist
destination. The success of these latter developments of Barcelona was the work of The Barcelona
Model. Barcelona is now one of Europe's most beautiful and historic cities. It is seen as an exemplar of
urban planning and renewal; its public spaces and art are renowned internationally, especially since it
hosted the Olympics. Although it cost the city $10 billion,32 it transformed the Mediterranean city's
neglected port into a revitalized waterfront and led millions of people eager to visit Barcelona. It was
certainly a momentary bonus for tourism, but hotels, parking lots, restaurants and the like were to be
built to accommodate the millions of people that Barcelona would host.33 But Barcelona is not able to
expand. It is a city wedged between the mountains and the sea, and the general city zeitgeist or trend
of urban sprawl cannot therefore exist. This highlights the one main problem of the city; space!
Meaning housing costs would sky rocket and the people of Barcelona were pushed out of their own
territory. The games did indeed inject a developmental newness to the city, but it did incredibly little
in solving the city’s housing shortage. The city's dilemma has been a battle between meeting citizen's
needs and the want for tourist's money. Does the Barcelona Model favour the tourist?
#*!Massive, but peaceful demonstrations of over one million people on the 9th of September 1977.!
$+!PRESTON, P., The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge. Harper Perennial, UK. 2006.
$"!Spanish accession into the European Community in 1986.!
$#!The 1992 Olympics cost $10 billion U.S. dollars!
$$!CHALKLEY, B & ESSEX., S. Urban development through hosting international events: a history
of the Olympic Games. Planning Perspectives.1999. 382–384.
Across Europe, in general, housing has re-surfaced on political and urban agendas. But those countries
to the south of Europe, particularly Spain, have created a housing crisis that is the effect of tourism.
Barcelona has a low level of spatial segregation, simply because there is no space. Tourists and natives
are forced to live together. The resulted increase in the cost of housing has led to a decline ("16.6%) in
the population over the last two decades of the 20th century as many families move out into the
suburbs. This decline has been reversed since 2001, as a new wave of immigration (particularly from
Latin America and from Morocco) has gathered pace.34
In 2004 Barcelona hosted a different kind of Olympics: The Forum of Cultures, a five-month cultural
and intellectual forum that was focused on solving the World’s problems. Organizers said they
expected more than five million visitors to converge on the city for the 2004 Forum of Cultures. Part
festival, part meeting-of-minds on themes such as peace, cultural diversity and 'sustainable
development' (i.e. housing!) For Barcelona, it was a chance to recover the internationally famous
limelight it basked in back in 1992. Not to mention to rake in tourist money. And it was an excellent
excuse for necessary, perhaps an overdue, urban renewal. About $460 million of public and private
money went to fund the Forum events, and a massive long term investment of $2.6 billion was spent
on the festival's infrastructure, including a total transformation of the city's once-marginalized and
crime-ridden northern-shore neighbourhood, La Mina.35 The Forum of Culture hosted its events in the
new building; The Forum, built by Herzog & De Meuron, which is within a stone's throw from La
$%!AHO, E., Creating an Innovative Europe - Report of the Independant Expert Group on R&D and
innovation appointed following the Hampton Court Summit, European Commission. 2006. 167-169!
$&!MONCLU, FRANCISCO-JAVIER., From ‘Reconstruction’ To Strategic Urban Projects, 1979 –
2004, Departament d’Urbanisme i Ordenacio del Territori, Universitat Polite`cnica de Catalunya,
Escola Te`cnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Valle`s, Barcelona, Spain. 31.
Fig 10: The Forum by Herzog & De Meuron. This triangular blue concrete building, conceived as a
sponge saturated with water, blends with the sky and the Mediterranean Sea. The triangle form was
conceived of in a very rational way. The building is situated at the end of the 'Diagonal' and it is
formed by the intersection of the 'Diagonal' and Cerda's orthogonal grid: creating a triangle. Note:
On the map above the blue triangle: the forum, and the red area: La Mina, are evidently in close
proximity. Also around The Forum exist many other new large-scale developments. Including the
CCIB, the Hilton Hotel, new university multi-story buildings, various shopping malls and a proposal
for Sea World. All of which are encroaching on the deprived and problematic area, La Mina.
These new developments, in the area of The Forum, are now encroaching on the worst and hidden
parts of the city. The La Mina Transformation Plan36 was one of the Cultural Forum's undertakings;
thirty years after the first La Mina bricks were laid, The Forum set out to create a change in the
marginalized image of La Mina, but what was their intention? Was it to help the citizens or was it to
improve the image it gave? Unfortunately the area's sad legacy left La Mina so torn with the greatest
social deprivation within the Barcelona metropolitan area today, that even the Forum was unable to
complete the revitalisation it set out to do. An anti-globalisation group, called 'The Assembly of
Resistance to the Forum', argued that these widely sort after topics of peace and diversity were merely
excuses for Barcelona to earn more money with tourism. Therefore, keeping up with their trend to put
tourism first and turn away from the local citizens.
$'!The La Mina Transformation Plan: See Appendix 1.!
22@Barcelona Project: The 'engine' of economic development
21st Century Barcelona; now one of the main European metropolises, and the centre of an extensive
metropolitan region made up of more than 217 towns, with a total population of 4.6 million
inhabitants. It is the economic, cultural and administrative capital of Catalonia and a leader of an
emerging business area in the south of Europe, which is made up of more than 800,000 companies and
17 million inhabitants. Within this Euro-Mediterranean region, which includes the Balearic Islands,
Valencia, Aragon and the South-East of France, Barcelona is focusing on new strategic, competitive
and international sectors. This new focus of the Barcelona Model is the 22@Barcelona Project, which
shifts focus away from tourism and onto the new technology industry.
Fig 11: The 22@ District occupies 115 city blocks, with a surface area of 2 million m! and with a
potential to build 4 million m! of floor space. Of this, 3.2 million m! would be allocated to offices and
commerce. According to the council's estimates, the transformation of this district will require an
investment "12,020 million over a period of 15 or 20 years.37
Catalonia, and its capital Barcelona have always been a welcoming place for those visiting it.
Throughout its history, many different types of people have passed through the city and almost all of
them have settled there. This has made Catalonia a welcoming place, which is tolerant, dynamic and
open to anything that is new. Catalonia and Barcelona have now become one of the main economic
$(!BARCELO, M., Presentation of 22@ Barcelona, District of Innovation to Urban Cluster,
Conference, Barcelona, 2006. 64-65
hubs of Europe and a driver of the Spanish economy. Barcelona, is surrounded by two small
mountains (Mont Juic and Tibidado), a large hill (Parc Guel) and the Mediterranean Sea. The city is
wedged between these geographical elements, therefore there is a serious shortage of available or
expandable land for the city. Taking this into consideration, at least half of all the new office space of
all of the country of Catalonia has been concentrated in the 22@ District. The 22@Barcelona Project
aims to fully integrate Barcelona in the new technological revolution of the knowledge economy.
Fig 12: The 3 above images taken from a helicopter are each 6 years apart. From above; it is literary
amazing to see what happened in the space of 12 years. Out of the maze we see the greater perspective
- the bigger picture of how vast and intense the developments in Barcelona were.
The Poblenou district, which was the main hub of Spanish industrialisation during the 19th Century, is
today setting itself up as the leading economic and technological platform in Barcelona and Catalonia.
Barcelona has been, and will continue to, transform the entire neighborhood of Poblenou, previously
clusters of manufacturing industries, into a hub of office and university buildings for activities and
companies involved in the fields of new technologies, information, knowledge, and communication.
As a new city model, the 22@Barcelona Project reinterprets the function of the old industrial fabric of
Poblenou in a very contemporary way. It applies a new town planning model based on the knowledge
and information culture. The project promotes a dense, complex urban environment, which permits a
more efficient use of the land, while at the same time contributing to the interaction and exchange of
information between the different urban agents and generating the critical mass required to achieve a
synergy of economies. Whilst, at the same time, as a by-product to the 22@Project, is the high levels
of buildability, which enables urban refurbishment projects to contribute to the re-urbanisation of all
the district's streets, the generation of new green spaces such as the park by Jean Nouvel, other
facilities and housing. In short, there is a decisive improvement to the quality of life enjoyed in the
Poblenou district. The 35 kilometres of streets in the 22@Barcelona district were comprehensively reurbanised under an 'Integrated Infrastructure Plan', which with a total investment of #162 million,
provided for the complete refurbishment of the public space and the construction of a highly
competitive utility network, structured to meet the technological, town planning and environmental
requirements of today. The new services of the 22@Barcelona district of activities include modern
power supply grids, telecoms networks, centralized climate control, and pneumatic refuse collection
systems and it prioritizing energy efficiency, noise pollution control and the reduction and responsible
use of natural resource management. As a project of economic revitalisation, it offers a unique
opportunity to turn the Poblenou District into an important scientific, technological and cultural
platform, making Barcelona one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the world.
Fig 13: Photographs showing the previous use for the 22@ District: 'Poblenou'. It was the main hub
of Spanish industrialisation during the 19th Century.
The future development of Barcelona depends on its ability to integrate new information and
communication technologies and, of course, to intensify its knowledge-driven industrial activities and
profit from them. Both for its innovative conceptualisation and for the nature of its productive
activities, the 22@Barcelona district is changing the economic geography of city and stands out as one
of the areas of Metropolitan Barcelona with the greatest potential. Barcelona's production expertise is
changing rapidly; more than two-thirds of its exports are now high or medium-high technological
goods. 22@ is one of Catalonia’s and Barcelona’s main business sectors both in terms of weight in the
overall economy, its importance in comparison with other European regions, and in terms of the
importance given to it by companies, universities and centres of research working in this area.38
Fig 14: The above photographs taken in 2009 are some key examples of the architecture language
which, is being developed in the new district. I believe that this new language is a logical extension
from Barcelona's evolution of architectural design, which has always been fore-frontally modern and
experimental in essence.
22@ The Current Financial Situation
Xavier Cama, director of Barcelona consultants Cushman & Wakefield and Healey & Baker, believes
that the majority attitude is to wait for the 22@ developments to be consolidated. Investors in the past
have preferred a more central location along the Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia. ‘If the buildings in
progress are rented, the international investors will come’, says Cama. For Cama, 22@Barcelona will
be converted ‘into a tertiary zone of offices and commerce, important to the city. It will not, however,
to be able to focus only on new technologies, since many of the companies are in crisis'. Also, he goes
on to say that, Barcelona has arrived a little late, in the sector of new technologies. Barcelona must
$)!'The Information and Communications Technologies' sector (ICT).
aspire to attract multinational headquarters to the 22@. While diversity in the work force and a
constant supply of highly skilled people are important to maintaining or enhancing the innovative
capacity of a city and avoiding a convergence in knowledge and information, success depends on the
city's ability to understand the nature of its new asset and actively promote and use its skills. The
approach taken so far is consistent with the development models earlier mentioned in this chapter,
which suggests how diversity can be or is driving innovation. But utilizing this approach properly
requires explicit management of the spaces and provision of special amenities to encourage crosssector innovation. Innovation can also be encouraged through 'demand-side' initiatives that seek crosssector collaboration. These initiatives could include, for example, cutting edge electronic healthcare
delivery and telemedicine that involves digital media, ICT, bio-medical engineering and life sciences
or devising new pedagogical models for education delivery that involve all of these clusters. These are
areas where the city already has demonstrated academic, research and industry leadership and there is
substantial public sector expenditure.39
Research has reported that the international community in Barcelona is itself seeking greater
engagement and that the barriers for such engagement need to be pro-actively addressed. It requires
much more in policy terms than just developing the city's amenities and attracting the creative
companies. As Barcelona has experienced; the jobs that have been created under the attraction policy
tend to be in the construction sector and retail and leisure services: not the knowledge economy. The
driver for any sectors relocation is paradoxically the desire to be a part of a well-educated, mobile
international community. Therefore high quality housing and services must be met to support the
lifestyles that attracted them to the city in the first place. And with economic incentives to relocate,
such as payment of lower taxes than in their home counties, their contribution to the public sector,
(Barcelona's society) is proportionately much lower than that of the local citizens. Therefore, again,
The Barcelona Model has turned a blind eye away from its own people in order to profit and gain, in
this case, in a corporate way.
$*!BARCELO, M., Presentation of 22@ Barcelona, District of Innovation to Urban Cluster,
Conference, Barcelona, 2006. 67-69!
Conclusion: Concluding thoughts on the Barcelona Model
The main point to focus on is that The Barcelona Model has been extremely successful in the renewal
and the redevelopment of the existing nuclei of the city; meaning, the renewal and redevelopment of
Barcelona's centre and its other metropolitan nodes. The ramifications of this great success are
impressive and wide-reaching. It is therefore understandable, that those who have only analyzed
Barcelona’s experience from the outside have only focused on these impressive results of the
qualitative urban planning. Therefore the great success of Barcelona only refers to the former
component of the model: - the qualitative urban design. It seems clear that the reconstruction of
Barcelona initiated strongly in the first part of the 1980's, constitutes an improved version of what has
been carried out subsequently in other cities. A vast number of high quality redevelopments and urban
improvements have been carried out in the central areas, maintaining and increasing the vitality and
urban quality of the different urban centres, taken to mean not just the official CBD (central business
district), but also all the central nuclei of the metropolitan region of Barcelona. It is precisely here
where the most creative and novel aspects of the #Model$ have been demonstrated.
Turning to the second component of the Barcelona model – the strategic planning associated initially
with the preparations for the Olympic Games. This has been subsequently maintained with as much, if
not more, energy. This half of the Model has promoted Barcelona into a high position in the
international urban rankings. The negative consequences, relating to polarisation and social exclusion
are so much sidelined that to someone experiencing Barcelona from the outside (the tourist) these
local citizen issues remain hidden. Great importance was given, in the last post-Olympic phase, to the
private sector: The Forum and the 22@Project whereby certain processes, of a clearly North American
origin, such as marketing and theme labeling of the city, accelerated exponentially. These correspond
to a highly globalized type of planning, especially that associated with 'Strategic Plans',40 which have
converted Barcelona into a reference for other cities, especially those in Spain and Latin America. The
capability demonstrated by the new Barcelona; to borrow, adapt and elaborate original processes
%+!MONCLU, FRANCISCO-JAVIER., From ‘Reconstruction’ To Strategic Urban Projects, 1979 –
2004, Departament d’Urbanisme i Ordenacio del Territori, Universitat Polite`cnica de Catalunya,
Escola Te`cnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Valle`s, Barcelona, Spain. 14.
relating to the most advanced formulae of international urban planning, allows us to consider the
possible reorientation of its objectives and urban planning strategies over the coming years. In
particular, the operations associated with the 22@Project will undoubtedly indicate Barcelona’s
capacity to tackle the challenges that are still outstanding.
The Barcelona Model has been a focus and an exemplar of progressive values for many years, yet
what lies behind the scenes is an institutional capital with relatively conservative concerns. The Image
of Barcelona, as a representation of the essence of Catalan culture, by its very nature expresses its need
to affirm its ability to be cosmopolitan and unique. Mixed into all of this is the cities intention or
attitude of being a separate province or country; being independent, therefore being different.
Until now, the notable success of Barcelona's marketing strategies are linked to the new symbolic
economy or cultural economy that is based upon urban tourism, the media and leisure. This contrasts
with the other important aspects where much less attention has been paid: public transport and, above
all, housing. Tackling these issues, in a more convincing way, would mark a new third part of the
Barcelona Model; A new milestone, one which would be far wider reaching, far more wholesome and
an extremely successful, complete planning model. Although, it is likely that, this much needed third
stage would always remain somewhat under-proportioned in relation to the concerns of image, global
positioning and economics.
MONCLU, FRANCISCO-JAVIER., From ‘Reconstruction’ To Strategic Urban Projects, 1979 –
2004, Departament d’Urbanisme i Ordenacio del Territori, Universitat Polite`cnica de Catalunya,
Escola Te`cnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Valle`s, Barcelona, Spain. 11.
CHALKLEY, B & ESSEX., S. Urban development through hosting international events: a history of
the Olympic Games. Planning Perspectives.1999. 369–394.
GARCIA, A. ESPUCHE, M. GUARDIA, F, MONCLU !S, J & OYO !N, J. L., International Exhibitions
Could Be Seen In A Similar Perspective: Modernisation & Urban Beautification: The 1888 Barcelona
World’s Fair. Planning Perspectives 6. 1991. 125–138.
MACKAY, D., Modern Architecture in Barcelona (1854 - 1939). 1985. The Anglo-Catalan Society,
University of Sheffield.
HERTZBERGER, H., Lessons for Students in Architecture, 010. 1991. Rotterdam.
PRESTON, P., The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, Revenge. Harper Perennial, UK. 2006.
DAVID, W., Geography An Integrated Approach, 3rd Edition, Nelson Thornes, USA. 2000.
Consorci del Barri de La Mina, Transformation of the Neighbourhood of La Mina. BCN. 2009. PDF,
AHO, E., Creating an Innovative Europe - Report of the Independant Expert Group on R&D and
innovation appointed following the Hampton Court Summit, European Commission. 2006, Office for
Official Publications of the European Communities, ISBN 92-79-00964-8
Ajuntament de Barcelona Census, 2006. Accessed at http://www.bcn.es/estadistica/castella/index.htm
BARCELO, M., Presentation of 22@ Barcelona, District of Innovation to Urban Cluster, Conference,
Fig 1. Cerdá's original figure-ground drawing of his ideal Barcelona.
Fig 2. Postcard of Barcelona, 2007. Aerial view: Bought from Les Rambles 2009.
Fig 3. Cerdá's original figure-ground drawing of his ideal Barcelona, Zoomed-in.
Fig 4. Helicoptor view of Barcelona. Overlooking Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Flickr
Fig 5. Google Streets view of a typical street within the grid.
Fig 6. Googel Map image showing where La Mina is located.
Fig 7. Photographs 1970-71 showing the construction of La Mina.
Fig 8. Photograph 1975 showing graffiti and poverty.
Fig 9. Google Earth zoom in on the La Mina estate. 2009.
Fig 10. Personal photographs of The Forum and Google Maps 2012
Fig 11. Arial photograph of Barcelona highlighting the area, in blocks ,which the 22@Barcelona
Project occupies. http://www.22barcelona.com
Fig 12. Three photographs looking over Glores, Barcelona in 1993, 1999, and 2005.
Fig 13. Old photographs showing the previous use for the 22@ Distict: 'Poblenou'. It was the main
hub of Spanish industrialisation during the 19th Century. http://www.22barcelona.com
Fig 14. Personal photographs showing some key examples of the architecture language in the 22@
The first 5 years of the neighborhood
High level of unemployment.
High level of precarious employment.
High level of heroin consumption.
Appearance of organized criminal groups selling drugs.
High level of anti-social behavior.
Strong deterioration of public spaces and housing.
La Mina Transformation Plan
Physical isolation of the area.
Degrading urban and environmental surroundings.
Weakness of social networks.
Significant educational deficits among the population.
Nonexistent or low professional qualifications.
A high level of unemployment.
Informal and illicit activities.
Lack of civic-mindedness.
Social Action Plan
Rehabilitate housing and improve access to buildings.
Social, educational, cultural and sports facilities.
Urban development of public spaces.
Cooperation in improving personal safety.
New housing project.
Courses of Action (with 3 million euros annually from 2000 – 2009)
Training and occupational integration.
Balancing family and professional lives.
Development of the local economy.
Community participation and development.
Public space and civic-mindedness.
Social and educational support.
Improving coexistence and civic-mindedness.
The Barcelona Regeneration Model Consensus41
The Barcelona Model of local government and management combines strategic insight, political
leadership, innovation, professional management, quality and proximity, civic culture, participation
and the involvement of the citizens. It explores some of the elements that have contributed to an
efficient municipal management, that obtained new investment based on the optimisation of current
expenditure and that have transformed the city, maintaining an important level of consensus of the
• International events are used to enhance prestige, attract private investment and to focus and
motivate the city's workforce.
• Buildings and infrastructure constructed for the events are of very high quality and serve a double
purpose: for short-term use during the event itself and as a means of regenerating a decaying area of
the city in the long-term.
• The use of low-paid immigrant labour and multiple sub-contracting in the construction industry.
• The city is seen as the sum of its neighborhoods, rather than comprising of distinct parts. This
discourages a bit-meal approach to regeneration and instead emphasizes the building of communities.
• Public intervention is linked to the demands of the local community.
• A reduction in urban density of 20%.
• The radical transformation of the perimetres of the worst affected areas. It is easier to begin the
transformation process where the deterioration is not so significant.
• Careful planning of public building locations to encourage regeneration and prevent duplication.
• Buildings of heritage value are conserved for public use such as schools, libraries, offices, cultural
• The introduction of mixed new land uses into an area, including service industries, office and retail,
private and public housing.
• The encouragement of innovative architecture and thinking.
• Investment in transport infrastructure to improve accessibility. This increases opportunities for
economic and social activity.
• A deliberate policy of introducing a new social mix into deprived neighborhoods.
• The creation of new communal open spaces in strategic areas to encourage social mixing. The open
spaces are created well before new building development commences.
• A flexible rather than rigid approach to planning.
• A policy of spreading new retail and service industries throughout the city, particularly in central
areas to retain vibrant communities.
%"!Ajuntament de Barcelona Consensus, 2006.!
%#!MONCLU, FRANCISCO-JAVIER., From ‘Reconstruction’ To Strategic Urban Projects, 1979 –
2004, Departament d’Urbanisme i Ordenacio del Territori, Universitat Polite`cnica de Catalunya,
Escola Te`cnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Valle`s, Barcelona, Spain. 29.
• A block on new out-of-town shopping centre developments.
• Compulsory purchase of buildings in very poor condition in order to renovate them using public
• Building renovations completed to a high standard, both interior and exterior.
• Tax incentives and grants to refurbish properties.
• Strong political and local leadership to drive the regeneration process.
• Education, job training, health, crime and leisure initiatives to help tackle the social problems of
health, and high unemployment.
• Collaboration between the Leisure and Social Services Departments to tackle social exclusion
amongst the disaffected young. Leisure amenities in schools are kept open until late into the evening.
22@Project: Reasons to Invest
As a project of social revitalisation, the 22@Bacelona project favors the networking of the different
professionals working in the district and encourages and supports innovative projects that fosters
collaboration among companies, institutions and residents as well as social, educational and cultural
organisations too, to thrive and synergize together. Qualified professionals and working practices are
determining factors for many companies when setting up in an area. Barcelona and its metropolitan
region have a highly qualified work force and they (Barcelona and its population) have been chosen
by more than 250 innovative companies to be their location for their Headquarters. Moreover, the
capital of Catalonia has been considered the best European city in terms of quality of life by
professionals for six consecutive years, and the fourth best European city to do business.43 Barcelona
offers a variety of reasons that make it a really attractive place to live, work and to do businesses. The
city has been well promoted and marketed.44 The marketing angel the 22@Project has taken can be
summarized in the following sound-bite; The 22@Barcelona opts for a high quality, compact, mixed,
sustainable urban model, which results in a better balanced, more hybrid, ecologically, a more
efficient city of greater economic weight and cohesion, therefore it forms part of the overall strategy
'Barcelona, the City of Knowledge'.45 The reasons to invest are;
1. Strategic Geographical Location
By road, Barcelona is just 2 hours from France. The gateway to the South of Europe, it boasts a port,
and international airports, Free Trade Zone, a logistics park, international trade fairs and a city centre
radius of only 5 km.
2. Extensive Transport Infrastructure
Barcelona is part of a network of highways connected with Europe; it has the fastest-growing
European airport; Spain’s top port and the biggest port in the Mediterranean in terms of container
transport; boasts a dense network in terms of its underground transport ('Metro'), railways and buses;
and the arrival of the High-Speed Train in 2007 and connections with the European network in 2009.
3. Centre of a Large Economic, Dynamic and Diverse Area
The area of Barcelona is made up of 4.7 million inhabitants. It is the capital of Catalonia with 7
million inhabitants, and at the centre of the Mediterranean Rim; which is a large economic area with
18 million inhabitants. It represents 70% of the GDP of Catalonia, and has a GDP growth rate which is
always above the European average, it is the sixth biggest urban agglomeration in Europe and it is fifth
in terms of its concentration of industrial activity.
4. Successful Foreign Investment
Barcelona is the fourth best city in Europe for business, it represents 20% of the annual foreign
investment in Spain. There are approximately 3,000 foreign companies set up in the city and 97% are
satisfied with their investments. Barcelona has also consolidated its position as a centre for the
'European Divisions of Multinationals'.
5. Acknowledged International Positioning
Barcelona does well in different international rankings, which shows its highly favorable urban
position, its capacity to attract foreign capital and its magnetic entrepreneurial character and the
quality of life.
6. Human Resources Prepared for the Future
Highly educated; highly productive, one of the most qualified in Europe according to the OECD; 5
public Universities, 2 private Universities, prestigious business schools: IESE, ESADE, EADA; 27
%$!According to the 'European Cities Monitor 2006' carried out by Cushman & Wakefield.
%%!The good promoted as reasons to invest are listed in the Appendix 3.
%&!BARCELO, M., Presentation of 22@ Barcelona, District of Innovation to Urban Cluster,
Conference, Barcelona, 2006. 22.
international schools; and an extensive penetration of new technologies; with good character for
innovation and creativity.
7. Excellent Quality of Life
Barcelona is the top city in Europe in terms of quality of life. Mild climate, sunny, beaches, within a
close proximity to top quality ski resorts; a splendid cultural; a network of 4,500 education
institutions; a modern and accessible health system. It is easy to get around on public transport, and a
system of nature parks surrounds the city.
8. Large Urban Projects for the Future
Transformation of 1,000 Hectres / 7 million m! of built surface area in the Llobregat area; with
projects on the logistics sector and internationalisation, with enlargements to the port and the airport;
Besòs area: urban renewal, with sustainability and research centres; La Sagrera-Sant Andreu: arrival of
the high-speed train; 22@Barcelona: the new technology and innovation district.
9. A Competitive Real Estate Offer
Extensive stock of offices, commercial premises and industrial plants with an excellent price-quality
relation. The construction of housing is also in an expansive phase.
10. Unique Public-Private Co-operation
Barcelona City Council and the Catalan government are very much in favour of companies; success in
traditional public-private collaboration has been a key in the transformation of Barcelona.
Chronology of Barcelona
3rd Century BC. According to legend, the city is founded by Hercules.
218 BC. Barcelona area is occupied at the start of the Second Punic War by Carthaginian troops under
the leadership of Hamilcar Barca.possibly giving rise to the city’s name.
14 BC. Founding of Barcino by the Romans. As a colonia, it was established to distribute land among
retired soldiers. The Roman geographer Pomponius Mela refers to Barcino as one of a number of
small settlements under the control ofTarraco. However its strategic position on a branch of the Via
Augusta allowed its commercial and economic development, and it enjoyed immunity from imperial
3rd century BC. The first Christian communities established (diocese of Tarraco established by 259,)
250. The first raids by the Germanic tribes.
Mid-4th century. The Jewish population of Barcino/Barchinona is establied in Barcelona (at the
latest). While the Jewish religion had been tolerated by the Romans, Jews suffered varying degrees of
discrimination and persecution under the Visigoths. The Jewish population of Barchinona was
considerable enough under the reign of Wamba (672–680) to demand a royal edict to expel the
415. Ataulf who had established his court at Barcino, is murdered by his own troops in the city.
711. Moors arrive in Spain.
717. The city is conquered by the Moors. While the cathedral was converted into a mosque and taxes
levied on non-Muslims, religious freedom and civil government was largely respected. The local Walí
was mostly concerned with military matters, with the count and the local bishop having large day-today control of the local population. The Christians who did not flee the city formed the Mossarab
community, in the same way that the Muslims who remained here became Mudejars when the Franks
entered Barcelona. The eighty years of Moorish rule ended on 4 April 801, with the arrival of Louis
the Pious to the city.
801. The Franks take Barsiluna (Barcelona) from the Moors.
878. Wilfred the Hairy Count of Girona and Barcelona.
985. Al-Mansur attacks and sacks Barcelona.1025. Ramon Berenguer I grants a charter to Barcelona.
1169. Fortifications are modernised. Agricultural and commercial areas are protected with separate
sets of walls.
1217. James I recognises the “universitat dels ciutadans” (citizens’ privileges and rights to
representation) of Barcelona.
1249-1258. Constitution of Barcelona municipal organisation.
1265. James I sets up the Consell de Cent (a Council of one hundred members).1283. Peter II reforms
Barcelona’s municipal government by means of the Recognoverunt proceres (recognition of ancient
customs and existing privileges).Fourteenth century. Construction of the Barcelona Raval
1348. Continuation of the Plague epidemics, which began in the fourteenth century: The Black Death,
Also in 1349, 1350, 1351, 1362, 1363, 1371, 1375, 1381, 1396, 1397, 1410, 1429, 1439, 1501, 1507,
1391. Attacks on the Jewish quarters of various Catalan cities.
1401. Founding of the Barcelona Commodity exchange.
1450. Founding of the University of Barcelona.
1487. The Spanish Inquisition is set up in Barcelona. The exile of Jews and converted Jews had begun
in previous years.
Fifteenth Century. People of Romany origin arrive in Catalonia.
1558. Ciutadella is sacked.
1563-1578. Inquisition very active in Barcelona. Numerous autos de fe are held.
1640. “Corpus de Sang” (Corpus of Blood, 7th June), a popular revolt against the cost of maintaining
billeted soldiers. Political revolution. Beginning of the Reapers’ War.
1641. Louis XIII of France is proclaimed count of Barcelona.
1701-1714. Barcelona becomes embroiled in the War of the Spanish Succession, which ultimately led
to the city’s defeat by Castilian troops.The city is occupied and loses its political autonomy.
1737. First printed calico manufacture in Barcelona.
1753. Building work starts on Barceloneta.
1762. Extension to Barcelona’s port.
1792. Appearance of the Diario de Barcelona (Barcelona daily newspaper).
1808. The Peninsular War.
1814. End of the Peninsular War. Absolutism is re-established by Ferdinand VII. 1814. The first
workers’ strike takes place in Barcelona, resulting in riots and numerous causalities.
1821. Outbreak of yellow fever in the city. The disease was brought by a boat from Cuba. The
epidemic first hit the poor areas, and then the rest of the city. It is thought that at least 20,000
inhabitants died from the disease, that is a sixth of the total population (120,000). The French blocked
off all borders by land and sea. The first outbreak of yellow fever in Spain was in 1701. It would
remain an endemic killer for 180 years, particularly in the southern ports. A single chain of yellow
fever outbreaks between 1800 and 1803 claimed more than 60,000 lives in Cadiz, Seville and Jerez.
300,000 people are believed to have died from yellow fever in Spain during the 19th century. A ship
also brought the last outbreak of yellow fever in Barcelona in 1870 from Cuba. 1,235 deaths were
1823. Barcelona and other cities are besieged by the Cent mil fils de Saint Louis (the Hundred
thousand sons of Saint Louis, an army sent by France to help Ferdinand VII against the liberals).
1833. Ferdinand VII dies. Beginning of the first Carlist War.
1840-1843. Disturbances in Barcelona.
1848. Opening of the first railway line in Spain, from Barcelona to Mataró.
1849. “España Industrial” opens the Vapor Nou (New Steam Factory) in Sants.
1854. Approval is given for the demolition of Barcelona’s walls.
1859. Production of Ildefons Cerdà’s “Proyecto de Reforma y Ensanche de Barcelona” (Plan for the
urban extension and reform of Barcelona).
1861. El Liceu seriously damaged by fire.
1870. The last outbreak of yellow fever in Barcelona, also brought by a ship from Cuba. 1,235 deaths
1870. Anti-military revolts in Gràcia, Sants and other parts of the Barcelona area.
1876. Construction of the Born market in Barcelona. Flowering of architecture with ironwork.
1888. Exposició Universal (Universal Exhibition) in Barcelona. The redevelopment of the former
Bourbon military Ciutadella (fortress) is completed.
1888. Founding congresses of the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE, Spanish Socialist
Workers’ Party) and the Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT, General Workers’ Union ) in
Barcelona. 1895-1906. Modernista architecture is at its peak.
1893. November 7. The Liceu bomb. On the opening night of the season and during the second act of
the opera Guillaume Tell by Rossini, two Orsini bombs were thrown into the stalls of the opera house.
Only one of the bombs exploded and some twenty people were killed with many more being injured.
The attack was the work of the anarchist Santiago Salvador and it deeply shocked Barcelona,
becoming the symbol of the turbulent social unrest of the time. The bomb which did not explode was
shown in the Van Gogh Museum in a 2007 exhibition 'Barcelona around 1900'
1896. First cinematographic film shown in Barcelona.
1896. Pablo Picasso arrives in Barcelona.
1897. The Montjuïc Trials of anarchists.
1897, (12th June). Legendary arts café Els Quatre Gats opens its doors. More here
1902. Lluís Doménech i Montaner begins work on the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona.
1870. First use of electricity as an energy source in factories and for lighting.
1875. First power station in Barcelona.
1883. Montjuïc cementary opened, built as the consequence of the massive growth of the city. Over
one million people are interned here. See also here
1888. Barcelona hosts the first Universal Exposition Fair. Start of the city as a tourist centre, lead to a
great extension of its urbanised area from Citadella Park to Barceloneta.
1894. Founding of the Companyia Barcelonesa d’Electricitat (Barcelona Electricity Company), using
German capital, which builds a large power station on Paral.lel.
1897. The city absorbs six surrounding municipalities (Sants, Gracià…) and the district of Eixample.
1901-1930. Construction of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. designed by the Catalan modernist
architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Together with Palau de la Música Catalana, it is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site.
1902. General Strike. The painting by Ramón Casas La Carga (The Charge) gained famed during the
1906-1910. Casa Milà better known as La Pedrera was built by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí
1909. The Tragic Week (July 25 – August 2) was series of bloody confrontations between the Spanish
army and the working classes of Barcelona and other cities of Catalonia. The attack was against
anarchists, socialists and republicans, ordered by Prime Minister Antonio Maura who sent reserve
troops after Spain renewed military-colonial activity in Morocco on July 9 (2nd Rif War). 104–150
civilians were reportedly killed. 1,700 individuals were arrested and indicted in military courts for
'armed rebellion', 5 of them were sentenced to death and 59 life in prison.
1910. First flight in an aeroplane in Spain, at the Can Tunis racetrack. Holding of the congress of
workers that saw the birth of the Anarchist union “Confederación Nacional del Trebajo” (CNT)
1911. Founding of the Energia Elèctrica de Catalunya, Barcelona Traction, Light and Power (known
as the Canadenca – the Canadian), and the Societat General de Forces Hidroelèctriques.
1914. A new bullring, “El Sport”, is erected in Barcelona. Two years later, after some remodelling, it
is renamed the “Monumental”. The Spanish workers who had been repatriated on account of the
outbreak of the First World War arrive at the “Estació de França”. Outbreak of a typhus epidemic
caused by dirty water . It will eventually kill 2.000 people. The authorities decide to close off all the
public drinking fountains carrying water from Montcada.
1917. Heavy storms devastate the slum area of Somorrostro, leaving 150 people homeless. 33 people
are killed in Barcelona during a general strike. People walk in the streets holding white handkerchiefs.
1917. Opening of the amusement park at the top of the Tibidabo hill.
1918. Spanish flu hits Barcelona. A state of war is proclaimed in Barcelona.
1924. The metro is opened.
1926. Guadí run over by a tram.
1929. Second major international exhibition is organised in Barcelona, leading to the urbanisation of
the area aroundPlaça Espanya and providing the impetus for further construction of the metro.
1936. (17th July). Outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
1936. (19th July). The Olympic Stadium is built for the People’s Olympics, scheduled to be held in
Barcelona from July 19 to July 26 as a protest event against the 1936 Summer Berlin Olympics. The
games were cancelled due to the war. Heavy streetfighting breaks out between workers militias
(principally CNT), the Civil Guard and loyal troops on one side and around 12,000 rebel soldiers on
1936. (20th July). The workers’ militias with the help of the Civil Guard and loyal troops gain back
control over the city in a dramatic two-day barricade fight. The rebels are defeated. The anarchists
storm the ams depost and barracks and seize some 90,000 rifles.
1936. (24th July). The Anarquist Durruti Column, with around three thousand men led by
Buenaventura Durruti are the first volunteer militia to leave Barcelona, heading for the Aragon front.
Many companies and public services are collectivised by the CNT and UGT unions. Much of the city
is under the effective control of the CNT.
1937. George Orwell arrives in Barcelona, where he describes the camaraderie of the revolutionary
atmosphere. He asserts that Barcelona appeared to have been “a town where the working class were in
the saddle”: a large number of businesses had been collectivised, the Anarchists were “in control”,
tipping was prohibited by workers themselves, and servile forms of speech, such as “Señor” or “Don“,
were abandoned. He goes on to describe events at the Lenin Barracks (formerly the Cuartel de Lepanto
where militiamen were given “what was comically called ‘instruction’” in preparation for fighting at
the front. The Anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full
swing. To anyone who had been there since the beginning it probably seemed even in December or
January that the revolutionary period was ending; but when one came straight from England the aspect
of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a
town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized
by the workers and was draped with red flags and with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every
wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost
every church had been gutted and its images burnt. Churches here and there were being systematically
demolished by gangs of workmen. Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been
collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black.
Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even
ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said ‘Senor’ or ‘Don’ or even
‘Ústed’; everyone called everyone else ‘Comrade’ or ‘Thou’, and said ‘Salud!’ instead of ‘Buenos
días’. Tipping had been forbidden by law since the time of Primo de Rivera; almost my first
experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no
private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and the trams and taxis and much of the other
transport were painted red and black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the
walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud.
Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of people streamed constantly to
and fro, the loud-speakers were bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. And it
was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a town in
which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Except for a small number of women and
foreigners there were no ‘well-dressed’ people at all. Practically everyone wore rough working-class
clothes, or blue overalls or some variant of militia uniform. All this was queer and moving. There was
much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it
immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for…so far as one could judge the people were
contented and hopeful. There was no unemployment, and the price of living was still extremely low;
you saw very few conspicuously destitute people, and no beggars except the gypsies. Above all, there
was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of
equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the
capitalist machine.” Homage to Catalonia
1937. (1st May). The parade for the international labour day is prohibited in Barcelona because of the
tense atmosphere police and worker organisations.
1937. (3rd-8th May). (Els Fets de Maig in Catalan, Los Hechos de Mayo) Stalinists and official
government troops take control from CNT and POUM after the street fighting of the Barcelona May
1937. (3rd May). Violent incident at the Barcelona central telephone office. Without knowledge of the
Catalan government, the Catalan councilor for public order, the Communist Rodriguez Salas, tries to
take control over the city’s central telephone office, which has been controlled since the beginning of
the war by the CNT and UGT. Salas got this order directly from the Catalan minister for inner affairs,
Ayguade, also a Communist. A company of Assault Guards storms the building around 3 p.m., “hands
up”, arresting everybody they can. The armed guards on the machine gun post at the stairs on the
second floor are not informed in advance, nor is anyone else in the building. When they see armed
uniformed men coming up the stairs and hear the yells and shouting from the first floor they shout
“stop there and don’t come up” at which point a gunfight breaks out. The anarchist guards resist their
attackers and keep control of the upper floors of the building. This skirmish leads to fighting
throughout the city. Several hundred barricades are built; Communist-controlled police units occupy
high buildings and church towers, shooting at everything that moves. The Communists attack not only
the CNT, they also arrest POUM members. The actions are obviously well planned. Some police units
and the Republican army stay neutral in the fighting, although army officers, if members of CNT/FAI
or POUM, are also arrested if caught at Communist-controlled check points. The police director of
Barcelona — a member of the CNT — together with the leader of the “control patrols” comes to the
telephone central in an attempt to get the occupying police forces to leave the central peacefully. They
have no success, instead Catalonian prime minister Lluis Companys declares that he, like everyone
else, was not informed in advance by his minister for internal affairs, but that he agrees all in all with
the police action. The radio stations of the CNT and FAI call hourly upon their members to maintain
public order and keep calm.
1937.(4th May). General strike in Barcelona. Gunfights throughout the city.
1937. (5th May). Companys obtains a fragile truce between the different fighting groups, on the basis
of which Rodriguez Salas, now blamed for the police action against the telephone central, has to
resign. Communist commandos are still arresting people and the Communist/Socialist official Antoni
Sese is murdered, probably by Anarchist gunmen.
1937. (6th May). “Neutral” police troops from Valencia arrive in Barcelona to stop the fighting. The
5,000 Assault Guards (chosen more or less carefully for their political opinions, to ensure a “neutral”
force and the trust of both sides) occupy several strategic points throughout the city. The workers
abandon the barricades and the telephone central is handed over to the government. When the Assault
Guards enter the city and passed by the central building of the Anarchist CNT, several hundreds of
them salute the black and red Anarchist flag on the building. Nevertheless, reprisals against the antiStalinist left are starting throughout the Republic.
1937. (7th May). The fighting in Barcelona concludes, with more than 500 dead and over 1500
wounded. Many are still under illegal arrest in several Communist-controlled police stations, militia
barracks and secret prisons.
1937. (8th May). In Barcelona, police find the horribly mutilated bodies of 12 murdered young men. 8
of the bodies are so mutilated that they cannot be identified. The 4 identified bodies belong to 4 young
anarchists, illegally arrested together with 8 friends on May 4 outside the Communist militia barracks
in Barcelona, when they were passing by on a truck with “CNT” written on it. The names of the
identified young men are: Cesar Fernández Neri, Jose Villena, Juan Antonio, and Luis Carneras.
Police also found the dead bodies of the Italian anarchist professor Berneri and two of his friends, who
were arrested during the May incidents by Communist militias. Orwell relates his involvement in the
Barcelona street fighting that began on 3rd of May when the Government Assault Guards tried to take
the telephone exchange from the CNT workers who controlled it. For his part, Orwell acted as part of
the POUM, guarding a POUM-controlled building. Although he realises that he is fighting on the side
of the working class, Orwell describes his dismay at coming back to Barcelona on leave from the front
only to get mixed up in street fighting. In his second appendix to the book, Orwell discusses the
political issues at stake in the May 1937 Barcelona fighting, as he saw them at the time and later on,
1937. (15th May). Largo Caballero resigns, Juan Negrín becomes prime minister of the Spanish
Republic. After fighting against domination of Spain by any one faction — Communist, Anarchist, or
left Socialists -Caballero is left alone with no one on his side. Juan Negrín is presented as the man of
the hour, leader of the “Government of the Victory”, as the press presents him and his cabinet. There
are no CNT ministers in this new government.
1937. (27th May). The new Negrín government accepts the accusations against the POUM and
prohibits their newspaper La Batalla.
1937. (17th June). Nin is arrested in Barcelona. His arrest is not announced in public; Communist
agents take him secretly to an illegal prison in Alcalá de Henares, near Madrid. Nin is interrogated
under torture by NKVD agent Alexander Orlov. Soviet agents assassinate Nin on June 21.
1937. (15th August). SIM created; political meetings in Barcelona forbidden. The SIM (Servicio de
Inteligencia Militar) gives back the control of secret police activities to the government, rather than
leaving it in the hands of Soviet and Communist intelligence organisations. Political meetings are
forbidden in Barcelona from now on. The mixture of regionalism, anarchism, and defeatism,
constituted a steady drain of the Republican war effort. Also the situation was unstable after the May
1937. (30th October). The Republican government abandons Valencia for Barcelona.
1938. (30th January). Bombing of Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, the second worst bombing atrocity to hit
Barcelona during the war.
1938. (16th March). Italian aircraft stationed in Majorca attack the city 13 times dropping 44 tons of
bombs, aimed at the civil population. These attacks were at the request of General Franco as
1939. (15th January). Nationalists occupy Tarragona, only a few hours driving from Barcelona
1939. (24th January). Franco’s troops are closing in, most civilians hide in their homes, not daring to
walk the streets of the city.
1939. (26th January). The city falls into Nationalist hands under command of Yague occupy Barcelona
without resistance. The last Republican soldiers and representatives just left the city shortly before.
1939. (27th January). Fascist troops parade through the streets of Barcelona.
1939. (1st April). End of the war. Catalan language is suppressed.
1940. (1st March). Law ‘Against Freemasonry and Communism’.
1940. (18th March). Decree making 1st of April (anniversary of the victory) a national holiday.
1940. (1st April): Beginning of work on monumental pantheon of the ‘crusade’, the Valley of the
1940. (12th July). Reestablishment of the Military Code of Justice for crimes ‘derived from the
Movimiento Nacional’ (civil war).
1940. (15th October). President Lluís Companys 1882 - 1940) was executed. Companys was the 123rd
President of Catalonia, Spain from 1934 and during the Spanish Civil War. He was a lawyer and
leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) political party. Exiled after the war, he was captured
and handed over by the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, to the Spanish dictatorship of Francisco
Franco, who had him executed by firing squad. Companys is the only incumbent president of a region
in Europe to have been executed.
1951. Tram strike in Barcelona: public protest against increase in fares, the first in Spain against the
1952. The district of Congrés is developed for the International Eucharistic Congress.
1953. General Plan for the District of Barcelona.
1953. (26th September). Accord between US and Spanish governments on technical and economic
1957. Production of the SEAT 600 car begins.
1957. Camp Nou opened. FC Barcelona won their first game at Camp Nou in impressive fashion, a 4–
2 victory against Legia Warsaw, with Eulogio Martínez scoring the first goal at the new stadium. Over
90,000 fans were present.
1957. Barcelona Urban Planning Commission plans the construction of residential estates in Bellvitge,
la Verneda, Guineueta, Horta, Bon Pastor, Badalona, Baró de Viver and Cornellà.
1970. Population of Barcelona is: 1,557,863 inhabitants, 15,517 per km!.
1971. Strike at SEAT. One worker dies. Assemblea de Catalunya (Assembly of Catalonia) is formed.
1974. Creation of the Corporación Metropolitana de Barcelona (Metropolitan Corporation of
Barcelona). the metropolitan management of urban services such as transport or water supply.
1974. Execution of Salvador Puig i Antich in La Modelo prison, the last death penalty to be carried out
in Spain, together with a common prisoner on the same day in Tarragona.
1975. Death of Franco. Cava (Sparkling Wine) sold out throughout the city.
1977. Massive demonstrations in Barcelona call for restoring Catalan autonomy.
1977. October: Political amnesty decreed by parliament.
1992. Barcelona hosts the Summer Olympic Games
1994. Second Liceu fire. Burning the Liceu Opra House, resulting in the new Liceu Opra House.
1996, (March). Election victory of conservative Partido Popular.
2009. Barcelona complete a historic treble with a 2-0 win in the Champions League Final over holders