The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Barcelona - Conflicting Diversities

19-24 September. In collaboration with: Master of International Cooperation Sustainable Emergency Architecture (MICSEA), School of Architecture, UIC, Barcelona

By Zaida Muxi Martinez, Director of Urbanism, Housing and Public Space, Municipality of Santa Coloma de Gramenet

An accelerating influx of immigrants has been shaping contemporary cities in the last decade. The creation of urban strategies for inter-cultural co-existence is imperative. The municipality of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, in the periphery of Barcelona Metropolitan Area, has recently experienced the convergence of newcomers from Latin America, China and the Maghreb region.

In this context, the DPU summerLab has explored the spatial implications of the co-existence of diverse cultures in the everyday life of the study area. Such complex reality strengthens the need to acknowledge and assess the intricate relationships between the diverse existing cultures and their use and perception of spaces of civic content.

The week-long engagement of international participants with local residents and public authorities delved into the potentials for intercultural exchanges in the hyper-diverse neighbourhood of Fondo. The driving questions of the workshop were:

a) how do multiple diasporas use and transform urban space? b) how can we map out and interpret socio-spatial interactions and conflicts (or lack thereof)? c) What is the agency of design in triggering opportunities for intercultural integration?

Building on and corroborating existing design-based research, the results of the workshop have fed the on-going participatory process for the Municipality Action Plan.