Bridging the cultural mix in Barcelona's Fondo neighborhood

By December 17, 2013 Blog, Workshops

In a current workshop led by our co-director Carmen Mendoza together with other faculty members, our students are undertaking a socio-spatial analysis of Barcelona’s multi-ethnic Fondo neighborhood in Santa Coloma and the impact of its civic spaces.

The workshop, which has already received attention from local media, is a partnership between ESARQ_UIC and the municipal government of Santa Coloma with the aim of analyzing how public architecture projects, such as the new Mercat de Fondo in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, can transcend physical boundaries and contribute to building social cohesion. This is especially important in peripheral neighbourhoods of contemporary European cities like Barcelona, which face a strong cultural and social mix due to high rates of immigration and growth during the current decade. Such is the case of the neighborhood of Fondo in Santa Coloma de Gramanet where diverse cultures co-exist and forge their day-to-day work and civic sphere, a complex reality that enhances the need to acknowledge and assess the intricate relationships between the diverse existing cultures and their use and perception of civic spaces.

During this week and last, our students have been busy assessing these intricate relationships by recording the specific use of public spaces, mapping spatial distribution and collecting feedback directly from community members.  Pich Aguilera Architects, who designed the Mercat de Fondo, also came in to talk to our students about their work, which focuses on civic and corporate buildings. Working in groups, students will implement a socio-spatial analysis of the community’s perception of the new public facility and the building’s mixed-use program, asking questions such as:

  • Can a high quality designed social facility as the Mercat de Fondo become a landmark for the community and consequently a strong catalyst for change and urban betterment?
  • Can it transcend the physical boundary and contribute to build on the social cohesion of the neighbourhood?
  • What is the perception of the diverse stakeholders and cultures of this new architectural mixed-use facility?

The objective of the workshop is to reflect on the value of civic architecture and sustainable urban regeneration as part of a network of civic relations. To this end, students will collect data and present their findings and recommendations to the municipality this Thursday December 19th from 10am-1pm at the Centre Civic Fondo.

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