ROSE OF FIRE – Taking Barcelona’s street.
This will be a very short and intense course on some Barcelona’s public spaces. We are grateful to the Barcelona Municipality that has put us some questions that are in the cutting edge of the city’s public spaces discussion and help us to organize the workshop. Many things in the city have been deeply questioned in the last years and we have the opportunity to participate in this turn. For example, since the 80s Barcelona have claimed for a place among the big European city for its modernity and attractives and, in the turn of the century, the “Barcelona Model” of public space was a reference for many cities. Today, Las Ramblas is the second best known European public space just after Piccadilly Circus and Barcelona is among the top touristic cities in the world with about 30 million visitors per year. This huge and very visible industry is mainly located at Ciutat Vella where heritage and touristic improvements are more concentrated. Even being this huge business important for the city, we must say now that the right to the public space of the neighbours of Ciutat Vella is being damaged for its expansion that just in the last years has started to be controlled. Actually exists a kind of touristic public space that you can see around: is a fluid space, with no obstacles nor dangers where the glance is freed of any kind of obstructions. Everything is transparent and clear in a way that make all the available commodities to the public.
Architecture, art and a controlled and attractive landscape; but also bars and terraces, shops imposing its trademark criteria to the background, and other quite banal offered activities. The air, glances, walks, everything flow like in a super-supermarket and just like in a supermarket if stopped is just because you are consuming anything. So, first of all, our first aim should be to find a way to create slow and quiet places in a human scale. Places of variable transparency. Air with qualities. There is another main issue that we should work with. We should insert greenery in the grey landscape of the Old City. And of course this is not just an ornamental issue. We should think on the issue of resilience into a global warming scenario. We should work on the urban metabolism paying special attention to offer efficient and sustainable drainage systems. The needs of this singular and representative neighbourhood claims for imaginative and risky proposals.
That’s why we invite you all to experiment and to look for original ideas. We should work also the concept of a dynamic and liveable nature.