A competition of ideas against the demolition of a popular neighborhood

During the years 2009 and 2011, some members of our research group helped in the organization of Repensar Bonpastor International Competition of Ideas promoted by a group of architects and urbanists from Barcelona with the collaboration of the International Alliance of Inhabitants. After various years of fieldwork (2004, 2009) in Bon Pastor’s casas baratas, and helped by the stable relationships we entailed with a series of families of residents, we reached a conclusion: that in spite of the media and institution constantly repeating how this neighborhood is in need of “renewal” (the word they use to say “demolition”), other solutions are possible, for this group of social houses, “red” and popular, built by Barcelona’s City Council in 1929: it could be possible to preserve the historical and social peculiarity that this neighborhood represents for its residents and for all the city. Cultures, habitus, techniques and languages developed during decades by the inhabitants of the 784 casas baratas, and deeply rooted in this particular style of housing, will not survive after the demolition of the neighborhood. Even many of its inhabitants, since “modernity” arrived to the neighborhood under the form of demolitions, had to leave the neighborhood or suffered violent evictions.

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  • Repensar Bonpastor: una intervención multidisciplinaria independiente en un barrio afectado por la transformación urbanística in Perifèria, revista de recerca i formació en antropología n.12 [spanish]
  • An experiment in collective reflection in an urban periphery: the Rethinking Bonpastor ideas competition, a meeting between architecture and anthropology” [ESP] [ITA] [ENG]
  • Repensar Bonpastor: results of the Competition of ideas in images and projects [spanish] in italian in the Ymag webpage
  • Repensar Bonpastor: un esperimento de reflexión colectiva para una periferia urbana” in Zone Onlus webpage [spanish – italian]
  • The Casas Baratas of Bon Pastor: a Worker’s Reservoir on the Edge of Barcelona“, posted since november 2010 in ColabRadio Portraits of Places project, at MIT Community Innovators Lab [english]
  • Lluita social i memòria col·lectiva a les Cases Barates de Barcelona: research project of the Inventari del Patrimoni Etnológic de Catalunya (IPEC), 2009-2011 [catalan]
  • This post also available in: Italian, Spanish, Catalan