Last week the Barcelona city council announced its plan to designate 222 vacant apartments as social housing units in the area of Torre Baró, a peripheral low-income neighborhood of Barcelona. The initiatve aims to make use of empty properties left behind by the financial crisis, which now reaches an alarming 3.4 million in all of Spain. The units will rent for 300 euros a month–roughly half of the market price, offering a more accessible rent to a working-class population severely affected by plummeting unemployment and high eviction rates. In addition, one of the buildings will be targeted to professors, students and academics thanks to an agreement with the University of Barcelona (UB), in a general move to regenerate the neighborhood.
Torre Baró is a neighboring locality of Ciutat Meridiana, site of a workshop this year in which our students developed proposals to improve the living conditions in this socio-economic and urbanistically challenged neighborhood which suffers the highest eviction rate in Spain as a result of the financial crisis.