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Reflections on the future of the city
Oriol Nel·lo, 1999


Published in A.Garcia Espuche and S. Rueda (eds), La ciutat sostenible [The sustainable city],  Barcelona: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, 1999. (Urbanitats; 9)

Barcelona, summer 1936, the first weeks of the war and revolution. A young man, twenty-nine years old, a draftsman by profession, married with two children, wants to add something to the fervour of the moment and, with the help of two friends, he decorates with images and slogans some railway carriages that are taking the militiamen to the front. Somebody takes photographs of them painting the convoy in the station and subsequently publishes them. When the war is over, these photographs will be used as evidence of the draftsman's participation in the revolutionary movement and, since he has also fought as a volunteer in defence of the Republic, he ends up in prison.

After the convulsed years of the war and the repression that comes in its wake, the draftsman has a long life. He teaches his trade to two generations of students, sees his children and grandchildren grow up and dies peacefully at ninety years of age. One of his grandsons becomes a rock-and-roll singer and founds a group that bears his name (the grandfather's name too). The band makes records, achieves a certain degree of fame and frequently appears in the press. One Sunday, a widely-circulated newspaper devotes a whole page to the group, with interviews and photographs. A few pages further on in the same newspaper is an article about the history of the railways of Catalonia, illustrated with a number of images and among them, rescued from some archive, appears the photograph of the grandfather painting that train in 1936.

What would that draftsman have thought on that hot day at the beginning of the conflict, as he painted, "One more effort and we'll flatten them!" if somebody had been able to tell him that, half a century later, and after his death, the image of that moment would appear in a Sunday newspaper to accompany that of a singer —red-haired, tattooed and with an earring— the son of his son?

The future cannot be foretold but we can prepare1

Our ability to foresee the future is not so different from the possibilities that the draftsman would have been able to imagine these events. It is true, though, that collective facts present permanent elements that a simple personal biography is far from being able to acquire. Collective changes, in the long term, respond to structural factors that to some extent contain their volatility: the collective historical what-is-to-be weighs heavy while the human trajectory is light. Again, we have armed ourselves with models for analysing social and economic phenomena that help us to understand their mechanisms of functioning and their recurrences. However, the possible combinations are too numerous to count and beyond a few circumstantial certainties we must bow to the evidence that the future —individual and collective— is not very amenable to prediction.

However, for anyone who wishes to be involved in the management of urban affairs, predicting the future is not only a stimulating exercise but also an obligation. In fact, any project for the city requires planning and forecasting. Peter Hall has noted this in the title of his well-known work Cities of Tomorrow, on the history of contemporary urban planning:2 reflection and practice in urbanism are, first of all, ways of prefiguring tomorrow, the future. The challenge of imagining the future of a city, of our city of Barcelona in, let's say, fifty years' time is therefore particularly suggestive. A suggestive challenge but not exempt of great difficulties.

In approaching this, one might at first be tempted to imagine some kind of News from Nowhere. One might then describe, as William Morris did, the impressions of a citizen who goes to bed and discovers on getting up that several decades have gone by. Thus, it would be possible to present, as the English thinker did, a model of society, a positive (or negative) utopia that would have transformed our society, our city to the point of its being almost unrecognisable.3 But for those (mere mortals) who do not have the gift of creation or the philosophical system of a Morris, a Cabet or an Owen, such a venture is far too risky. Besides, even if we knew where we wanted to go, we would need to establish what we have to do in order to get there.

A more certain procedure than starting out from a final image, from an ideal model, might be selecting a series of more or less known contemporary phenomena and trying to gauge their capacity for permanence. Continuities and ruptures might thereby be highlighted, along with the elements of the present that would have remained in the future and those that, on the contrary, would have disappeared. We might thus be able to describe a city in which the people, the economy, the speech … everything would have been transformed and yet —just as the physiognomy of the man can sometimes be perceived in the features of the child— we would still discover those features of the vanished society that would have turned out to be the most determinant and the longest lasting in the end.

Not that this is an easy exercise either. Simple extrapolation of trends often leads to absurd conclusions, and more complex types of analyses require the clairvoyance of being able to discern between the structural and the circumstantial elements. In the case where this is achieved, it is still necessary to be able to divine what factors will prevail over the rest in a greatly changing world so as to venture which of the infinite number of possible futures will end up taking shape. Trying to predict the future, therefore, on the basis of present-day trends runs the risk of projecting —more than anything else— one's own fears and hopes.

In fact, we frequently see how in these futuristic exercises there is a tendency for all the negative factors —all our fears— to accumulate on one side with all the positive elements —our hopes— being grouped on the other. This ends up with the construction of dichotomous, alternative, and certainly Manichean scenarios. Jules Verne offers an excellent example of this way of proceeding in one of his best-known novels The Begum's Fortune, where he contrasts a negative utopia (Stahlstadt, the city of steel, a compendium of the direst aspects of industrialisation) and an ideal city (Franceville, the city of wellbeing, a kind of phalanstery). It must be said that when one proceeds in this way, the negative scenario curiously ends up acquiring much more life and appears much more plausible than the positive one. Jean Chesneaux pointed this out some years ago in referring to Verne's novel4 and we have been able to confirm this in some of the recent work carried out in the field in Catalonia.5

We see then that reflection about the city of the future cannot simply be based on images of final objectives or on mechanical extrapolation from present trends. Let us go back to square one: the future cannot be foreseen.

But we can prepare. This is to say that the future of Barcelona, like that of any other city, is not written, and it is impossible to gauge with any degree of certainty which among the infinite imaginable futures might end up as reality. Yet one thing is sure: the daily options that are taken now condition and prefigure this future. We have to choose from among the options. In order to do so and to make collective decisions about the city, alternative scenarios are needed that express different interests, different sensibilities with regard to the present and future. In all this, capacity for debate is necessary and the ability to put into practice precisely those interests that best serve the majority of the population. So, we need these small contingent utopias that we call projects or "practical utopias" in the words of Cebrià de Montoliu.6 The situation is this: the future of the city cannot be foreseen but it can be projected. We cannot say with any certainty what the city will be but we can say what we would like it to be.

The aim of these notes is, perforce, modest. I shall not attempt to describe what Barcelona will be like in 2025 or 2050. That would be a huge task and would certainly not be very interesting. What I propose is, first, to try and offer a framework for the debate, with a brief description of contemporary views on the future of Barcelona and its contribution to Catalonia as a whole. Next, I shall try to show what have been the main dilemmas that, from a territorial perspective, are raised by the evolution of Barcelona today. As we shall see, I have tried to summarise these dilemmas by way of using three pairs of concepts: compactibility/diffusion, complexity/specialisation and integration/segregation. To conclude, I shall explain how, as I see it, in order to resolve these dilemmas to the benefit of the majority of the population, we need collective projects aimed at moulding the present and future of the city.

A final word of warning. In the notes that follow I shall be dealing with the issues from a standpoint that is not unfamiliar to myself: territorial analysis and practice. This means I shall be making an approximation that makes it possible to raise questions that I believe are very relevant. But they do not in any way cover the great variety of aspects raised by the matter of the future of the city. You have been warned.

The future of Barcelona: two traditions of thought

Over the last two centuries, differing views have emerged as to the future of Barcelona, both in the domain of ideas and in political and urban planning practice. Some have tended to draw attention to the positive aspects of the city's growth for the economic, social and cultural development of Catalonia. Others have seen this evolution as one of the main threats to social stability, environmental balance and preservation of the Catalan identity.7

These contrasting views go back a long way in history. For a lengthy period —beginning at least as early as the agricultural and commercial revolution of the 18th century and lasting into the 1970s— Catalan territorial development was characterised by marked tendencies towards concentration. For more than two centuries the main Catalan cities underwent almost incessant population growth while their relative influence increased extraordinarily —in both demographic and economic terms— in the rest of the country, to the detriment of rural areas. This tendency came to a paroxysm between the end of the 1950s and the mid1970s, in which time the population doubled in Barcelona and its immediate environs, in absolute terms.

Polarised growth was an essential condition for the process of economic modernisation but it brought many problems with it, for both Catalan and Spanish urban systems as well as for the internal structure of the cities. The asymmetry between Barcelona's development and that of the rest of Catalonia (and Spain) forced huge migratory movements that depopulated extensive areas of the rural plains and upland zones of the interior (from which the migrants came down like pedres de tartera (mountain scree), to use the bitter words of Maria Barbal. Some of these movements —despite the fact that they would finally redound in a general increase in average income— had costs that were not insignificant from the personal and social points of view. Again, concentration in the urban areas —which were also exposed to barely regulated and often speculative development— led to increased density in many neighbourhoods, to extremes that were incompatible with quality of life. Thus the carreró negre (black alley) of Joan Maragall's childhood in the old centre of Barcelona (where the sun never shone until "beyond the street of Sant Josep") began to multiply, spread and take on new forms: from St. Vitus' dance to the housing estate, from the Falangist Housewives' Union to satellite cities.

This process of concentration led many authors to hold the view that the city's growth was "excessive", "unbalanced" and even "macrocephalic" with respect to Catalonia as a whole. "Wake up Catalans! Barcelona is, for all of Catalonia, a real danger!" proclaimed Gaziel in 1923 adding, "[…] The tentacular city, the overgrown head of Catalonia, tends fatally to suck in almost all there is of Catalan spirituality, leaving the rest of our land desolate and barren".8 There is a whole tradition of Catalan territorial thought that has been influenced by such notions: from Gaziel to Joan Antoni Vandellós, from Josep Baldrich to Josep Iglésies, from the 1953 Barcelona Regional Plan to the 1995 General Territorial Plan of Catalonia. It is a tradition that has impregnated, and still impregnates today, a considerable part of political, journalistic and even academic discourse about the present and future of the territory of Catalonia.9

Rather than expressing concern about the conditions of life of city and rural workers, most of these views can be summed up as an expression of unease about the disruptive potential of the conurbation of Barcelona for the future of the social order and for a particular conception of Catalan identity. In fact, it is no accident, as Ramon Grau has shown, that this line of thinking has its origins precisely at the beginnings of the twentieth century when the transforming capacity of the concentration of working class population in Barcelona became evident with phenomena like the Tragic Week, the rise of revolutionary syndicalism and the Civil War. As noted above, when we speak of the future, we are often speaking, first of all, of our fears and hopes.

It is not surprising, then, that along with these negative views of Barcelona's development, there are other writers —with other fears and other hopes— who have tried to point out the advantages of this urban concentration. This tradition of thought has its origins in the 18th century with such significant contributions as that of Antoni de Capmany. This tradition was, in fact, dominant in Catalan territorial thinking until the social convulsions of the first third of the 20th century. Writers as different as Jaume Balmes or Ildefons Cerdà belong to this group, which wanted to see Barcelona as the active principle, the main resource of Catalonia.10 For them, it was an essential resource, not just for economic progress but also for the very maintenance and future development of the Catalan identity: "Barcelona is at once synthesis, stimulus, development and power for the land of Catalonia", wrote Pi i Sunyer in the 1920s.11 This brings us to the antithesis of the "real danger" for Catalonia that Gaziel saw in the city.

For a good number of these writers, claiming the potential of the city's future is not remotely incompatible with criticising the specific forms adopted by the urban process. The clearest example is without doubt Ildefons Cerdà who, in his Teoría General… combines generic hymns of praise to the city ("it is certainly one of the most magnificent and surprising spectacles, on a par with any one of the most promising that humanity has ever produced in its persistent labour of urbanisation"12) with a radical critique of speculative urban development and the suffering that this imposed on the population, in particular the working classes. Overcoming this contradiction could not therefore be achieved with some kind of chimerical de-urbanisation. On the contrary, the existence of a great city like Barcelona will be seen as essential for the future improvement in conditions of life for its inhabitants and especially the subjugated groups. There are two reasons for this. First is the transforming potential —economic and social— of a concentrated workforce, and then there is the capacity of the duly organised and regulated big city to offer higher levels of wellbeing for the population in general and the workers in particular.

Views on the future of Barcelona and discussion about its role in the future of Catalonia have differed greatly, as we can confirm. What they do have in common is that they start out from one evident phenomenon, the accelerated and apparently unrestricted growth of the city and the increase of its relative weight within Catalonia as a whole. These basic tendencies no longer exist. It would be absurd, then, to try to keep the discussion within these same terms. Urban development today raises different dilemmas and we need to think about the future on the basis of these new realities. Let us see what they are.


One of the indisputable defining features of Barcelona is its compactness. The density of the inner city is more than 15,000 inhabitants per square kilometre, a figure that, if compared with the central areas of the great European cities, is only exceeded by the municipality of Paris. Again, the heart of the metropolitan system accommodates in a little less than 500 square kilometres (less than 2% of the surface area of Catalonia), some three million people or half of the population of the Principality. As we have seen, this situation is fruit of a secular process of concentration that tended to group population, activities and services in the leading Catalan cities, especially Barcelona and its urban environs. However, more than twenty years ago, this process of concentration began to show signs of fatigue and today we can consider it as in total decline.

In fact, in the mid-1970s, the municipality of Barcelona, after reaching its population peak, began to lose inhabitants. This process continued to extend —slowly at first but then rapidly gathering pace— so that it would end up affecting almost all of the most densely settled and highly populated municipalities of the metropolitan region: first Barcelona's conurbations (like Hospitalet, Badalona and Santa Coloma) and subsequently the main towns in the metropolitan environs (like Sabadell, Mataró and Granollers). Moreover, the entire metropolitan region is presently tending to lose its relative influence in Catalonia as a whole. The process of urbanisation has thus entered a new phase that is characterised not by concentration but diffusion of the population and activities over the territory.13

This dual phenomenon of decentralisation and diffusion of population has been accompanied by another set of dynamics: the extension of functional networks of metropolitan relations. In other words, in Barcelona and its environs, the territory that functions as an integrated and interdependent whole —the sphere that we might regard as one single city— is extending more and more. This is shown in studies on the delimitation of the metropolitan area in terms of citizens travelling to work, which —in spite of frequently expressed opinions to the contrary— confirm that the space of everyday relations not only takes in the area designated by the General Territorial Plan of Catalonia as metropolitan (the seven regions of Barcelonès, Vallès Oriental, Vallès Occidental, Baix Llobregat, Maresme, Alt Penedès and Garraf) but it extends even beyond them (to the Baix Penedès, Anoia, Bages and la Selva).14 And if instead of focussing on the mobility of the workforce we delimit the sphere in accordance with service and leisure activities, the territory would certainly be even bigger. Jacint Verdaguer, in his elegy to the 19th-century expansion of Barcelona ("and you grow and you spread: when flatlands you need / you climb the coasts and to their forms adjust; / everywhere around you part of you takes seed / and wave by wave you continue your thrust"), imagined the Pyrenees as a threatened giant that feared being reduced to the headboard of the city. Today, when we note the increased frequency of visits to regions like La Cerdanya and the Vall d'Aran, and the rising numbers of second homes in these areas, we can see how what, in the poet's times, was nothing more than a felicitous hyperbole, is now increasingly becoming a reality.

The origins of these processes, whose results are most visible in migrations from the big metropolitan municipalities to small and middle-sized towns may be found in a series of simultaneous phenomena: the situation of the real-estate market, changes in territorial requirements for production and consumption, technological advances and improved infrastructure. It should be remarked that this is not in any way exclusive to the Catalan case. On the contrary, all the big cities of the Iberian Peninsula (Madrid, Bilbao, Valencia, Lisbon …) have taken a similar course in recent years so that their development has followed, with some delays, that of the main European metropolises.15 What I should like to discuss here, however, is not how original the processes are but their implications for the future because there is no doubt that the phenomena of urban expansion and diffusion offer opportunities and create challenges for the future of the city.

Let us look at what we might consider as advantages. First is, without doubt, the leap in scale of the city. In its process of metropolitanisation —which, it should be recalled, has been accompanied by an economic growth rate that has brought Catalonia as a whole to per capita income levels that are equivalent to the European Union average— Barcelona and its environs have reached a formidable critical mass. In terms of population, Barcelona is now number six on the list of urban areas in Western Europe, outnumbered only by London, Paris, the Randstat, the Ruhr and Madrid.16 This confers on it a capacity for attracting investment, services, infrastructure and activities it would otherwise lack. Again, new settlement patterns have meant a significant drop in the population density of many urban centres where, as we have seen, they had once reached levels of density that were hardly compatible with quality of life for their inhabitants.

The process of urban diffusion where the city moves "out with its spread of houses / as if drunk on all this freedom" also means more than a few problems. There is no doubt that the most visible among them is land occupation. In effect, the growth of medium-sized and small towns to the detriment of larger municipalities has meant the emergence of suburban models that have established very low density residential (and also industrial and commercial) zones.17 Exceptionally rapid and far-reaching processes of land occupation have occurred and these have mortgaged spaces that are of great importance for future growth, while open spaces have been unnecessarily fragmented and made artificial. It should be noted that this was in no way inevitable even in the context of de-concentration of the population: an energetic town planning policy that oriented and compacted the patterns of growth could have prevented it. But the laws in force, encumbered by the expansive emphasis on planning inherited from the 1960s and 1970s and lack of clear territorial guidelines, were not sufficiently equipped to prevent it. According to data from the Office of the Barcelona Metropolitan Territorial Plan,18 the figures for land occupation per inhabitant in the metropolitan areas doubled between 1972 and 1992. As for the future, it needs to be borne in mind that existing urban planning has denoted 28,623 hectares of new land as building land, in addition to the 50,303 hectares that are already occupied as urban land. The figures for land area occupied per inhabitant of the metropolitan area of Barcelona are still lower than those of other big cities, especially those in the north of Europe. But the compact city, which has been the traditional form of urbanism in the Barcelona area, is now undergoing a process of rapid transformation.

Again the exit movements of the populations of big metropolitan cities, which, as we have seen, are a response to complex causes, might be perceived as symptoms of the urban crisis. Some recent readings of the case of Barcelona have given rise to assertions that what is in crisis is the city centre as a whole. Josep Miró i Ardèvol, for example has written that "loss of population, aging and lack of jobs are always the three consequences of crisis in a territory […]. If this is the case, Barcelona, the city setting, is in crisis and, in more than one very important way, this is extremely accentuated".19 Taken to such extremes, the interpretation would seem to bear little relation to reality. In fact, the continuing existence of a very favourable differential in real-estate prices in the central city area (where the price per m2 of new housing is on average 1.4 and 1.8 times as high as in the first and second outer-city belts respectively) makes the images of the city in crisis, where inhabitants and activities are struggling to get out, look rather improbable. This phenomenon would indicate, rather, that the most plausible explanation would lie in the opposite direction: the city still has enough power of attraction to make it difficult to maintain certain phenomena within its bounds (low-price residence, industry and extensive forms of commerce) so that the land market and housing needs are pushing them out towards the metropolitan surroundings without the urban planning regulations having been able (or wanting) to achieve a diversified evolution in this process.

It is still curious, though, that among those who are today declaiming against the crisis of the city centre because of its loss of population, we find many of the very same people who were inveighing against its rapid growth. They might be compared with the fickle lovers of Shakespeare's sonnet, with "one foot in sea and one on shore / To one thing constant never", though this would give a false impression. To some ways of thinking, there is a permanent factor, a basic constant: the city is always guilty. When it is growing it is growing too much and when it is losing population, it is in decline.

Nonetheless, the issue of urban crisis is not one to be shrugged off. This is not so much the case, fortunately, for the heart of the metropolitan system as a whole, but for some areas of the big metropolitan municipalities, including Barcelona. The historic centres of some localities with a very old real estate offer have little space for facilities and services and are ill-adapted to the automobile, manifesting specific problems, which, without clear and well-defined action, could be aggravated in the near future. To these areas we must add the neighbourhoods of high-rise housing with buildings constructed from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Thanks to the demographic cycle and the poor quality of construction of their buildings, these districts are in decline and are subject to social exclusion. I shall return to the social implications of these problems below.

We see, then, that the evolution of the urban form has given rise to very complex divergences with respect to the future. They not only affect the physical dimensions of the city but also its external competitiveness, its internal hierarchical form, its environmental viability and its social cohesion. These are the issues that hide behind the compactness/diffusion dilemma.


The future evolution of the city will be marked by a second contrast: the conflict between complexity and specialisation. Indeed, in the centre of the metropolis, the city of Barcelona, this has been characterised to this very day by the complexity of functions to be found therein. In accordance with the traditional pattern of urban development in Mediterranean cities, residential uses have coexisted side by side with productive and service activities in the metropolitan centre. This is the combination that has created a particular atmosphere of late-19th-century urban pot-pourri that so fascinated the small-town students in Narcís Oller's novels. But beyond bestowing a particular personality on the city, this promiscuity of functions has —harmful and dangerous activities aside— significant advantages. It cuts down travelling requirements, increases citizen security, offers more resources and favours interrelation among the inhabitants. In brief: complexity is a positive factor for conviviality in urban life.

In the processes of urban growth of the 1960s and early 1970s this framework underwent far-reaching changes. Large residential zones appeared, with hardly any services or productive activities, which radically transformed many municipalities around the city, pushing them to become almost exclusively residential areas. "In Bellvitge there is life", proclaimed the publicity at the time of its construction. And life —the tough life of those who came streaming into the place— there certainly was. But there were very few jobs and services. Again, and also in this period, industry was moving out of urban centres (from Barcelona but also Terrassa, Sabadell and Granollers) to set up in specialised industrial estates, with more space and lower land prices. Different parts of the territory thus progressively specialised into particular functions.

After 1975, the continuing expansion of the metropolitan area and the spread of urbanisation gave new thrust to the phenomena of territorial specialisation. In fact, just as the weight of population in the heart of the metropolis is tending to diminish, so too is the number of jobs. So, the city of Barcelona in which 30.9% of the population twenty years ago had 39.9% of the jobs in Catalonia, only had 24.8% of the inhabitants and 30.1% of the jobs by 1996. In relative terms, the drop in numbers of jobs in the city has happened even faster than the decline in terms of overall population. At the same time, the outer-city belts have seen an increase with respect to the totality of jobs in Catalonia. But the differences are very notable because, while the relative significance of the former situation on Catalonia as a whole is still stable, the latter areas, which, as we have seen, are those with the highest indices of population growth, are clearly going ahead in this respect and are attracting work that is equivalent in volume to the losses experienced in Barcelona proper.20

Looking to the future, this trend could, in principle, have some positive aspects since it involves a greater number of jobs and services in the outer-city areas, which, as we have noted, were very poorly equipped with both. If we look more closely at the data, we see that, as in the case of population, decentralisation of the workplace is accompanied by its spread over the territory. In other words, the relative influence on the totality of Catalonia of the bigger and more densely-populated municipalities, both in the city centre and its outlying municipal areas, is diminishing.21 In the last inter-census period, the seven cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants lost jobs in absolute terms, while the medium-size municipalities (those with between 20,000 and 100,000 inhabitants) grew in this regard, but did so at a rate that was three times slower than the towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants. One also needs to indicate that, even in these small municipalities, the recent productive installations generally appear in newly opened areas that are frequently very poorly integrated with the pre-existing nuclei. We see, then, that with regard to occupation, the big cities tend to lose relative weight and, in a considerable number of cases, jobs too, in absolute terms. And this, beyond a certain threshold —even though loss of jobs does not necessarily mean loss of economic value in production— can adversely affect the town's or city's financial basis and its hierarchical position in the metropolitan system as a whole.

The location of services —which we cannot elaborate on here— has seen a similar evolution to that of work in recent years. There is no doubt that improved income levels and initiatives of the different branches of the administration (at both regional and municipal levels) have permitted a higher level in the services provided —especially in people-based commerce, and the home— in many municipal areas. However, it is also undeniable that, apart from a few commendable exceptions, the most notable operations in this field have occurred outside the urban nuclei in the form of large shopping malls and leisure centres that are almost exclusively supported by the metropolitan arterial network. The department-store type of shopping centre, access to which requires private transport and which was almost non-existent twenty years ago, has progressively spread so that in the immediate environs of Barcelona there are almost thirty such commercial complexes.22

The outcome of these processes is, as we have noted, a growing separation of urban functions in the metropolitan area. Some authors have compared big contemporary cities with their tendencies to specialisation and social compartmentalisation to huge theme parks: residential zone here; industry there; in the background, nature reserves.23 The urban area of Barcelona is still a long way from such extremes but there can be no denying of the fact that, in order to satisfy their basic needs, our citizens have to cover ever-greater distances. So much is this the case that, in the metropolitan area, almost half (45%) of the people who work do so outside their municipality of residence. And this opening up to mobility is growing very rapidly. If in 1986 two out of every three workers still had a job in their own municipality, ten years later the proportion has diminished to about one in every two, as we have seen. This increased radius of mobility is not exclusive to travelling to work, either.24 Other functions are increasingly associated with inter-municipal movements. A person can live in Cerdanyola, work in Rubí, shop in Sabadell and go to the cinema in Barcelona. Let me stress that we do not yet have the patterns of mobility of the big American cities, where, to paraphrase the poet, "they come together to be alone / they move to be still / […] through tunnels and canyons / maddened Time blows", but the more urban settlement spreads and specialises, the more extensively the citizens use the territory, and the total number of trips shoots up.

The direct costs to the user of this increased mobility are not in any way inconsiderable. I have calculated that, between 1986 and 1996 alone, the greater opening in job markets has meant, in the latter year, almost 500 million kilometres in extra travelling to work, which means that some 26 million additional hours per annum are consumed in this travelling.25 To these costs must be added those pertaining to environmental impact, effects on the energy balance, the accident rate and investment in infrastructure, and of course they are all much higher.26 Moreover, it should be recalled that direct costs to the user are not distributed equitably among the population. Since the possibility of choosing a residence and mode of transport is a function of people's income and their capacity to dispose of it, people with more resources can logically deal with their transport needs so as to minimise time and personal effort. So, when we study the time spent by citizens on travelling to and from work, we see that those with less acquisitive power, and women —in other words, those who are more likely to use public transport or to walk— take on average more time to cover the same distance than the rest of the population, as if, for them, there were more metres in the kilometre.27 It should also be noted that, in the case of working women, travelling to work has to be added to still more travelling associated with domestic tasks (shopping, looking after children, old people, etc.), which, even if they have paid work, continue to be their responsibility in a much greater proportion than for the male population.

The mobility to which we refer is, again, one of increasing complexity. In fact, the number of trips per citizen not only tends to increase in terms of quantity and radius but they usually have their origins and destinies in low-density areas and —because of the job market and other reasons— are increasingly irregular. These are patterns of movement that are very different from the classical pendulum commuting pattern of the 1960s and 1970s. The simple mobility of the early English pop song ("my baby take de morning train / he works from nine to five and then / he comes back home again") has been left far behind us. (This, it must be said, in our Barcelona experience of those years, was never associated with civilised suburban trains but rather with packed buses and dismal company buses like those that left from behind the plaza de España —between Escorxador and the Las Arenas bullring— for the Zona Franca and Llobregat: "Barcelona and Masris were something demeaned / Like in a dirty house where the people are old / the city seemed darker / and poverty stank in the Metro"). Today the means of transport have considerably improved and, for quality of service, our suburban railway system —the Spanish Railway, RENFE, and the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia) railway— is not far behind British Rail. But, meanwhile, patterns of settlement and ways of life have undergone great transformation and mobility has become much more disperse, erratic and complex. To cater for this by means of public transport would require a huge investment effort.

This effort, as we know, has not been made to the extent that is required and mobility needs are therefore increasingly served by the private vehicle. This has given rise to the present extraordinary demand for highway infrastructure and conflicts over traffic management (among which the recent dispute over road tolls is merely the most visible episode). Investment these last years in the road network —and this has certainly been very important— has meant that, despite greater mobility, the average time that citizens use in travelling has not increased and it has even been considerably cut in some cases.28 However, studies assessing this infrastructure (and what we hear every morning and every night on radio news bulletins) show that traffic flow is increasing fast and that the new road infrastructure is often subject to situations that are verging on congestion.

In brief, today's population spread has been accompanied by a growing dispersal of activities and services over a territory that is in turn subject to the phenomena of increasing functional specialisation of its space. This inevitably involves greater mobility needs for the citizens. While these tendencies to dispersion continue, mobility policies that aim simply to meet the demand, however necessary they may be, will inevitably end up faced with the phenomena of congestion. A new focus is therefore needed to resolve in future the conflicts that have been thrown up by the territorial specialisation/diffusion dilemma. This would entail an overall view of the territory that would make it possible to integrate policies on infrastructure and efforts being made with regard to public transport, with planning measures that are designed to regulate uses of the territory. Only a territorial-wide structure articulated by urban nodes (which are powerful from the population point of view and complex from that of the functions they fulfil) could contain this mobility and serve it with measures that would be less costly for both society as a whole and for the environment.


Over the last two centuries, the history of Barcelona has been repeatedly marked by bitter social conflict. So much is this the case that the revolutionary tradition of the city —from the 19th-century bullangues (riots) and burning of convents through to the big upheavals of the first third of the 20th century— was, for a long time, a central element of its image: the city of bombs, the "rose of fire". These conflicts had their origin in the existence of deep social divisions, which are logically reflected, too, in the distribution of urban space. Indeed, after the city walls were demolished and for a long time afterwards, the different parts of the plain of Barcelona were undergoing social specialisation. On the one hand were the bourgeois Eixample and the well-to-do neighbourhoods like Sant Gervasi or Sarrià, while on the other were the increasingly impoverished surrounding nuclei of workers and artisans in Sants, Gràcia, Sant Andreu, Poblenou and the Ciutat Vella (Old City). Thus, on St John's night, the summer solstice of 1956, the character Pijoaparte in Últimas tardes con Teresa could look down from the marginal and marginalised district of Carmel to the bourgeois city spread out below his feet with a mixture of rancour and fascination and a clear awareness of belonging to another world.

Urban growth in the 1960s and 1970s took this segregation to an even greater degree. The districts of Can Tunis, Carmel and Torre Baró gave way to the huge agglomerations of mass housing in the outer rings of the city: Ciutat Medidiana, Ciutat Badia, and the Sant Ildefons Satellite City. Thus it was that, without territorial inequalities disappearing in the inner city, the big differences in average income levels would put Barcelona into opposition with its metropolitan surroundings (and here, in the outer rings, the traditional urban centres were also in opposition with the newly created neighbourhoods). However, the economic growth and ascending social mobility that characterised this period generally helped to avoid insuperable fractures.

Later, since the mid-1970s, a number of other factors have also helped to contain the inequalities. First, continued economic growth must be mentioned. Over the last twenty years, this growth presents a clearly positive balance, despite successive crises and the difficulties of the structural adjustment that the city has undergone since it changed from being the "factory of Spain" to become a tertiary European centre.29 It is true of course that this economic evolution has shown that it is not enough to resolve the problems of unemployment and produce more jobs, but it has brought about a considerable increase in average income, which now comes close to the European average.

A second factor that has contributed to mitigating the impact of the inequalities and urban segregation has appeared with measures taken by democratic government bodies and, in particular, town councils. These have frequently had the explicit aim of breaking down barriers and reducing the differences between the various parts of cities and towns. The new peripheral neighbourhoods have therefore been transformed by public policy that aims to patch up the social fabric and improve facilities while the historic nuclei that were in decline have, in many cases, seen ambitious rehabilitation programmes.30 Again, the spread of the benefits of the welfare state in the 1980s (non-contributory pensions, unemployment benefit, universalised medical care) have also helped to contain the rise of social problems.31

Finally, urban dynamics themselves have contributed towards diversification of the territory from the social point of view. In fact, the aforementioned decentralising processes particularly affect the middle-income groups in cities: most of those who migrate are young people, of average acquisitive power who, when they are unable to find in their own municipalities a home that they would like and can afford, move to other places.32 These population shifts have done their bit towards altering the social composition of many towns in the outlying metropolitan areas, with an increased presence of social groups that were formerly scarce and with the ensuing effects on average income, type of housing, consumption patterns, demand for facilities, source of income, etc.

When we study, therefore, the evolution in recent years of territorial distribution of income —even though the statistical treatment is highly complex— it seems that we might assert that we are faced with a dual phenomenon. On the one hand, the average income of the populations in the outlying areas of Barcelona has tended to approach that in Barcelona proper. So, according to data in the last Metropolitan Survey, the average family income in the first outer ring went from 77.1% of the Barcelona average in 1989 to 80.5% in 1994. Evolution in the second belt was even faster: from 79.8% to 87.1% in the same period. Moreover, in each of these zones, income inequalities between average income in the upper strata and that in the lower strata have not only not increased but have slightly diminished.33

This noted, I must hasten to add that this positive trend has not entirely resolved the segregation/integration problem. It has not happened at present and nor does it look as if it will in future. As for the present, factors such as the instability of labour relations and the high costs of housing, inter alia, mean that significant groups in the population are enduring difficult economic situations. Again, there are still people living in conditions of extreme penury, these consisting mainly of citizens coming from so-called marginal or non-European Community immigrant groups. Segregation of social groups by income levels still endures, of course. However, rather than this being manifested in contrasts between large territorial spheres, as happened in the past, it is now reflected in smaller patches (between neighbourhoods in big cities, and between municipalities in each of the outer-ring metropolitan areas).

In the case of the future, it is necessary to consider, first of all, whether the economic dynamics (competitiveness of the economic base of the city, its growth and forms of work organisation) will be sufficient to remedy what has hitherto appeared as an irresolvable difficulty: the problem of unemployment and low levels of labour activity. A crucial aspect in resolving this question is the degree of training of the workforce. It is precisely here that the present trend raises significant questions: the educational system, which has been the essential mechanism of integration and ascending social mobility, is today showing serious problems of adaptation and alarming tendencies towards fragmentation. In these circumstances it should be asked whether present urban planning policies and redistributive mechanisms alone —even if they should be maintained at today's levels— will in future be able to go on containing increased inequalities, as they appear to have done in recent years.

As for the territorial expression of these inequalities —which is to say in relation with the specific matter of segregation— one issue would undoubtedly be crucial: the impact of intra-metropolitan migratory movements linked with the housing market. Indeed, studies carried out in other European cities suggest that, after periods of total decentralisation of the population, such as that which is now occurring in the metropolis of Barcelona, movements of re-centralisation tend to come about.34 In fact, the situation of real estate availability in the municipality of Barcelona, with 45.9% of housing occupied by only one or two people makes it seem more possible that this latter phase of metropolitan development will occur in our area too.35 However, even if this re-centralising phenomenon should occur, the effects of the migratory movements in recent years on the social structure of the municipality of Barcelona will have been anything but innocuous.

As I have noted above, these population shifts mainly affect the younger members of the population with medium acquisitive power. These characteristics raise questions, first about the future structure of population in terms of age in the cities, which are losing people and, second, they make one fear that these movements might help to generate a relative loss of presence of intermediate social groups in these municipalities (and, in particular, in some of their neighbourhoods).36 In this regard, the social composition of the re-centralising movement will be very important. And, here, the different areas of the city offer a range of prospects.

The historic neighbourhoods of the big cities offer, in general terms, some chances and do have appealing aspects that might enable a kind of rehabilitation that would be capable of attracting a new and varied population, thus avoiding a transformation of these areas into run-down and impoverished ghettoes. From this point of view, generic criticism of gentrification (in other words, the arrival of contingents of population with greater acquisitive power) that could have resulted from the rehabilitation polices in the Ciutat Vella (Old City) of Barcelona and in the centres of other cities does not seem very coherent. To combat the segregation of social groups in a territory it is important to avoid, precisely, the formation of closed nuclei of population groups that are too homogeneous, so the arrival in the historic centres of a certain volume of a more youthful population with higher acquisitive power is, in principle, a good thing. What must be avoided in all cases, through land and housing policies, is that the arrival of these new groups should occasion a massive exit of groups with less acquisitive power. If this occurs, the change that occurs will have merely been transformation from an impoverished to an affluent neighbourhood.

More complex still is the state of affairs in high-rise neighbourhoods in the big municipalities. These lack the attraction of centrality and the prestige of historic nuclei, while the situation of housing availability, which has completed a complete generational cycle, is often worrying. The example of other European cities shows that population substitution in these districts can give rise to phenomena of social and urban degradation. As Juli Esteban37 has written, resolving the conflict between innovation and memory is one of the main challenges for the future in many of our cities and, as we can see, this problem is closely linked with another greater predicament: the construction of integrated cities in the face of this juxtaposition of segregated areas.

The future of Barcelona: the need for a project

We tend to embellish the past and to be afraid for the future. In recalling his childhood during the Spanish Civil War, the poet Jaime Gil de Biedma states "They were, perhaps, / the happiest years of my life". Another poet, Gabriel Ferrater, makes the same point, "We were happy, / We were all happy and always and greatly so", when he writes of his adolescence in Reus during those convulsive years. Passolini, too, who so deeply detested fascism, spoke of the Italy of his childhood, the Italy of the Ventennio (twenty years of fascism), as a happy country. Yet the future often inspires fear and this is particularly true at this turn of the century.

Nonetheless, there is some cause for optimism. There is no doubt that, today, Barcelona and the populations of its surrounding areas are cities that are better off, better organised, cleaner and more open than they were when they emerged from the Franco dictatorship over two decades ago. It is undeniable that the present situation offers both opportunities and challenges, and our city, the whole of Catalonia if you like, is somehow at a crossroads. I have tried to summarise the territorial dilemmas that this state of affairs has raised with the three pairs of concepts discussed above.

The reader who is so good as to have reached thus far will have seen how, in my view, the transformation of metropolitan space is characterised today by a three-way drift: from the compact city to a spread of urbanisation over the territory, from the complex city to functional specialisation of space, and from the relatively integrated city to a greater potential segregation of social groups over the territory. This reader will also have realised that such tendencies, if they remain unchanged, raise major problems for the future of our urban area. We run the risk of seeing it become an environmentally unsustainable, functionally inefficient and socially unsupportive space.

In other words, if the negative features are not corrected, the territorial dynamics now underway could come to represent a serious threat. It would be a threat for the economic development of the city, which —although with difficulties in competing in terms of resources and volume of production— does offer an attractive setting and quality of life, and it is on this offer that it bases a good part of its activity. It is also a threat to the wellbeing and social cohesion of the population, the one we ourselves shall leave behind us and the one that will be formed by future generations.

In order to take advantage of present opportunities and not to squander the achievements of these last few years, we must respond to the present situation. In other words, we must move to counteract the negative aspects of the trends of urban evolution described above. In the case of territorial polices —which are what concern us here— they must be drafted, using the model of the compact, complex and integrated city to counter the diffuse, specialised and segregated form of urbanisation that is now taking shape. This would evidently imply a vindication of the role of policy in the construction of the city: this is the notion that, in order to confront the urbanisation that has emerged from spontaneous tendencies and the pre-eminence of partial interests, we must reclaim the concept of the city as a collective project and social construct. As I have said at the outset, it is impossible for us to know what the city will be but we can say what we want it to be.

It must be said that, in this field of reflection and practice in urban planning, the point of departure now is not bad. City and town planning has clearly flourished in Catalonia in general and in the metropolitan area of Barcelona in particular in the last two decades.38 The policies applied in some of the main towns and cities —outstanding among which is, without a doubt, the urban planning for the Barcelona in the Olympic period— already include elements that are designed to correct the tendencies that are presently underway. If these policies have turned out to be incomplete, it is principally because of the absence of an overall political will and the lack of a clear territorial reference that is capable of coordinating, integrating and empowering their initiatives.

The kind of reference I mean might be the future Metropolitan Territorial Plan of Barcelona, which has been in the pipeline for ten years now.39 It could be such a reference if, along with prescriptions pertaining to territorial regulation, it included some strategic content, if it was produced with the participation of all interested parties, and if it included not only general orienting principles but the instruments for applying them through planning, regulations, financing, agreements and specific actions. In particular, it could be if in its writing it abandoned all anti-urban airs and any pretension of abstract territorial balancing acts. The notion of balance based on a homogeneous distribution of population and activities around the territory reveals a terrifyingly simplistic intellectual approach and great ignorance of geography. Its application, apart from being utterly inefficient from the economic point of view, would usher in, as the ecologists40 have recently pointed out, extremely serious environmental problems. A territory is balanced when it guarantees for its citizens, with the least possible environmental cost, the highest possible degree of equality of access to income and services, and not when it becomes a chimerical homogenous draughtboard.

In the 1950s, in calling for the "city-region", the urban planner Manuel Baldrich warned that "the undue affluence of the inhabitants of industrial cities [… ] has been the seed of long-term disorder. A lot of economic disorder, social disorder, and disorder in urban planning". And he concluded, "let us not forget that God confounded the builders of the Tower of Babel".41 Echoes of such formulations, which have a long genealogy as we have seen, still resound all too often in political discourse and in planning orientations. We must confront this point-blank and insist that, in a Catalonia that is already totally integrated, reinforcing the network of cities —and especially the metropolitan region of Barcelona— is both a requisite for, and guarantee of, economic growth, environmental conservation, social cohesion and an integrated development of all the territory, including the areas of low population density. In contrast with some recently expressed opinion, investing in Catalan cities and investing particularly in Barcelona, is to invest in Catalonia as a whole, and is to invest within Catalonia.

As for the future, the main objective to attain for Catalan and Barcelona society as a whole can be none other than to provide the highest possible level of social wellbeing for the entire population with respect to both income and work, and social cohesion. To make advances in this direction from a territorial and urban planning perspective we need, as I have pointed out, a set of collective projects to act as the theoretical backbone for the different parts of the Catalan territory in keeping with the aspirations and potential of each of them. These projects should be included within a vision of the territory as a whole and should also fit in with general and sectorial policies. In the Barcelona metropolitan area, this project —call it the Metropolitan Territorial Plan or by any other name— will need to pursue at least seven basic territorial aims:

-Boosting the city's economic capacity
-Giving vertebration to the urban structure
-Increasing external accessibility
-Guaranteeing internal functioning
-Defending the rights of all citizens to use of the territory
-Protecting environmental quality
- Guaranteeing governance

We shall now go on to look briefly at what, in my opinion, should be some of the main actions and measures that would be involved in reaching each of these objectives.

Boosting the city's economic capacity

The first objective must unquestionably be reinforcing the city's economic development. And it must be so, not as an aim in itself but as a requisite for and guarantee of social cohesion and environmental conservation. In order to achieve this enduring development accompanied by social cohesion, policies of economic modernisation and social redistribution are essential. But these polices would be insufficient today if they were not accompanied by environmental initiatives that aimed at fortifying the urban structure. Indeed, in an evermore integrated international context, the external economic benefits derived by companies from their location in one place and not in another are increasingly important. These economic factors depend in good part, as the experts have described,42 on the resources and characteristics of the territorial surroundings. For cities like ours —occupying an intermediate position in the world's system of cities and struggling to maintain it or improve it if possible— the quality of these surroundings is therefore crucial. This is not only as a social, environmental and functional requirement but also as a key factor for economic competitiveness and sustained growth.

The increasingly tertiary nature of the economy, to which I referred earlier, only emphasises the importance of the surroundings. In Barcelona, manufacturing activities have a deep-rooted tradition and an importance that makes them worthy of consideration and promotion. However, without support they will find it very difficult in future to guarantee jobs and economic growth. Yet today —because of the quality of its workforce, the presence of a significant university system, the existence of high-level research centres and the availability of impressive cultural facilities— the city of Barcelona is well-placed to foster activities that could be crucial in such areas as logistics, environmental technology, health, design, training, the arts and tourism. In brief, these are services related somehow or another with knowledge and knowledge management. The generations that are about to join the job market —besides being, in comparison with previous generations, very small in volume— are the best-trained in all our history. In order to take advantage of these circumstances, the city —each of the cities in the metropolitan areas— must fortify itself and adapt (through the creation of areas of activities, attracting high-tech companies and creating links to training and research centres), fostering a environment that would propitiate extending its economic base with such key activities. The urban offer would then constitute, along with training, modernisation and redistribution, a basic lever for fostering economic development and social cohesion.

Providing the essential urban structure

It is precisely in order to improve the urban offer (of the metropolitan area as a whole and of each of the cities that comprise it) that the urban network of the metropolis must be reinforced. In order to achieve this, it will be necessary to focus in particular on the great extant polarities, both in the heart of the city and in the outlying metropolitan areas, with the explicit aim of reversing the progressive loss of relative weight in the territory as a whole. These polarities are, first, Barcelona and the big cities of the second metropolitan belt (Sabadell, Terrassa, Mataró, Granollers, Vilanova and Vilafranca). But emphasis must be given also to cities and towns of more recent growth (like Mollet, Sant Sadurní, Sant Celoni, Badalona, Cornellà, el Prat and Martorell) that have the potential to become polarities that can structure the urban system.43 Reinforcing the urban network means first of all rehabilitating some existing areas of the urban fabric: cities like Sabadell, Mataró and Granollers (and also Badalona, Cornellà, Mollet or Rubí) must be able to continue along the path and at the pace that Barcelona has set in this field.

In the same sense, these cities and towns must continue to be furnished with catalysing areas of new creation that would shore up their metropolitan centrality in the spheres of both production and exchange: operations like those of the Eix Macià in Sabadell or the Avinguda Europa in Mataró are fine examples of the possibilities offered by these policies, which must now be complemented with new projects in other cities. In some cases, attempts have been made to present such initiatives as being in opposition to the centrality of Barcelona, with the hackneyed argument of "territorial balance". These mistaken approaches must be answered with the statement that the aim is to reinforce the centrality of cities —of all the metropolitan cities, with the logical hierarchical differences deriving from their size and position— in the metropolitan area as a whole. In short, the aim is to articulate the metropolitan region as a true city of cities.

Guaranteeing external accessibility

It has been written that "brains and access to the world" will be key factors in the future development of cities. The assertion is doubtless reductive but the future evolution of the Barcelona area will certainly depend, in good part, on its connection with the international system of cities. Guaranteeing the external accessibility of the metropolis is essential both for competitiveness and so that the city can fulfil its hinging role with regard to the different logics of the world order, on the one hand, and local and regional orders on the other.

In this field, studies on relative degrees of accessibility in Europe44 show that Barcelona is clearly inferior to other cities of Spain and Europe. Observance —with the appropriate environmental safeguards— of the points of the Delta Plan agreement with regard to the port, airport and the areas of logistical activities is vital for the metropolis as a whole. Furthermore, this is of great importance for the TGV (APT - Advanced Passenger Train) connection with Madrid and France.45 The debate about the location of stations in which the interests of Barcelona have been seen as being detrimental to those of the rest of the metropolitan territory is falsely founded: an eventual locating of the main station in the Vallès region might perhaps favour Sabadell and Terrassa but it would then leave Mataró, Vilanova, Vilafranca and, to a lesser extent, Granollers in very decentralised positions. Again, reinforcing the urban hierarchy of Barcelona need not be seen as a threat to the other cities but rather as a requisite and a guarantee of competitiveness, growth and, as we have just seen, the overall accessibility of the entire metropolitan region of Barcelona and of Catalonia.

Guaranteeing internal functioning

The fourth aim of metropolitan policies should be that of ensuring the functionality of the networks that integrate the territory. We have seen that the urban transformations that are presently occurring are forcing citizens and companies to make an increasingly greater use of space. This, as we have noted, exacerbates mobility needs, with the additional result that these are increasingly catered to by means with mechanical and private means of transport. The resulting problems —of congestion, energy consumption, and accident rates, to mention just a few— can only be resolved through policies of metropolitan structuring that will affect the factors that generate these movements. However, along with these policies there is an urgent need for transport strategies and for a road network that will serve mobility needs in the most effective way possible.

First, there must be increased public transport facilities both in the city centre and in the outlying metropolitan areas. This must be planned so that it serves not only the radial flows between the periphery and the city centre, but also the internal movements in each of these areas. We need, then, to call for the immediate implementation of the Mollet-Papiol railway line for passenger transport and to investigate the possibilities of providing public transport using the fixed structures of the Mataró-Granollers and the Vilanova-Vilafranca connections. As for the road network, the construction of the so-called fourth ring route, if it is shown to be necessary, should be conceived and designed, above all, as a connecting route between the big cities of the outlying metropolitan area rather than as a new interregional or international bypass route.

Then again, the discussion about the layout and capacity of the network cannot be separated from the debate about its management. This requires raising the question of tolls which is a matter of key importance for communication between our cities. In Catalonia we have, first, a clear grievance with respect to other Spanish and European cities, in the majority of which the basic segregated roads that form the metropolitan arterial network are toll-free. However, from the point of view of a model of mobility, perhaps the solution might not be sought in a total abolition of tolls, which, when they are rationally applied can come to constitute a regulatory mechanism in the network and a disincentive for unrestricted private forms of transport. What it would mean, rather, is to achieve a greater public recovery of the benefits that accrue from the tolls, along with their progressive lowering and equalising throughout the metropolitan network as a whole (thereby eliminating the flagrant inequalities that very negatively affect some of the metropolitan cities). Finally, it is also necessary to extend the cable network for broadband communications, which might end up encouraging the appearance of new centralities throughout the metropolitan area.

Defending the right to the city

Policies of territorial structuring and infrastructure will need to be accompanied by an active defence of the right of citizens to use the territory. This defence will need to be materialised with policies for housing and facilities that will guarantee, first, the right of all citizens to adequate housing and, second, greater territorial equality in the distribution of basic services. One of the main aims of these policies should be to preserve social diversity in the city as a whole and in each of its parts. This is not only because of the imperative of social justice but also as a way of qualifying the territory according to principles of social justice, in other words through the coexistence of different social groups in the same space.46

In this field it will be necessary to bear in mind the fact that segregating tendencies in the main cities of the metropolitan region might arise as much from the inability to guarantee access to housing for citizens with less acquisitive power as from the greater tendency of citizens in the high and middle income brackets to move to other places. Looking to the future, it will be necessary to preserve and extend the public spaces that have represented one of the main conquests of democratic city planning in recent years. The drive towards exclusive appropriation of territory by the particular social groups that occupy it must be resolutely combated. Fortress Los Angeles and the "closed condominiums" that characterise so many cities of Latin America are models that must be avoided. As Jordi Borja has written, without public space there is no shared citizenship, and there is no city.47

Protecting environmental quality

The sixth future objective for metropolitan territorial policies must be the recovery and preservation of environmental quality. Here, a defence of the compact, complex and integrated nature of urban growth, which is beneficial in itself, should go hand in hand with a decided move to assess the open spaces of the metropolitan region: open spaces that fulfil a compensatory function for urban activities, that have a significant scenic component and that interconnect spaces of special natural interest, and that permit the development of especially productive agrarian activities.

The progressive extension of measures for the protection and integration of open spaces on the two mountain ranges that shape the metropolitan area (the Serralada Litoral and the Serralada Prelitoral -coastal and pre-coastal ranges) and the recent creation of rural parks within the municipal areas of some of our main cities are unmistakeable signs of advances in this area.48 For the future, we shall need to call for metropolitan policies that permit a global and systemic treatment of the matter. Moreover, it will be necessary to demand the completion of infrastructure packages that are related with environmental questions (collecting and distributing water, purifying plants and systems for the treatment and elimination of waste materials).

Guaranteeing governance

Finally, to carry out a set of projects like this, a democratic and participative process is required. The present-day administrative structure of the metropolitan territory, which is marked by extreme complexity and fragmentation, does not make this easy. Indeed, in the 3,200 km2 of the relatively small space of the metropolitan area (10% of the Catalan space) there are more than 200 local entities and seven different administrative levels (municipal, regional, interregional, metropolitan area, provincial council, Catalan government and State, to which must be added the increasing presence of European Union policies).

Elsewhere,49 we have described the costs that arise from this situation from the point of view of institutional efficiency and, in particular, administrative accountability and representation. What is most important now is to highlight the contradiction between this state of affairs and the primacy of politics in the construction of the kind of city that we were calling for above. In effect, in order to open up the debate on the present and future of the metropolitan area and to apply the measures that emerge from this debate, we need appropriate institutional mechanisms, and we lack them at present. To put it another way, the future of the metropolis depends on its governance. We need, then, to find a way in which, without damaging municipal autonomy in other questions, the policies that are applied in each locality with respect to a number of key issues (land use, housing, transport, road network, environment, taxation, facilities and supramunicipal services) are coordinated and conditioned by metropolitan decisions and management.

In order to attain this new balance between autonomy, on the one hand, and efficiency and equity, on the other, it will be necessary to create an entity for planning, cooperation and management in the metropolitan domain (and let us be clear about this: I mean an administrative entity that covers the whole metropolitan region). It would be an entity that would need to work from the bottom up, providing incentives for joint management of services by the municipalities and promoting strategic reflection in which all interested agents would participate. The Generalitat (Catalan Autonomous Government) and the State, rather than putting up different kinds of resistance to this process, should encourage it and, more than that, reproduce it in other areas of Catalan territory (Alt Pireneu, Catalunya Central, Terres de Ponent, Terres de l'Ebre, Camp de Tarragona and the Girona area). Only with such deep involvement of the Generalitat, will there be a guarantee that the policies applied in the metropolitan region —in the urban heart of Catalonia— are in accordance with the territorial polices for the country as a whole.

Attaining these goals will not be easy but we need to tackle all kinds of difficulties. It was by overcoming difficulties that the city has been built until now, and will be constructed in the future: "we shall be what we want to be / in vain shall we flee from the fire, if the fire is our just deserts".


1 An earlier and shorter version of these notes appeared under the title "Reflexions: el futur de Barcelona", in the review Medi ambient. Tecnologia i cultura, Published by Department of the Environment of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government) of Catalonia).

2 See Hall, P. Cities of Tomorrow. An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the 20th Century. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1990 , (473 p) . As is well-known, there is a vast amount of literature in the field. The volume of Choay, F., L'urbanisme. Utopies et réalités. Une anthologie. Paris: Seuil, 1965 (446 pp.) with its selection of texts and preliminary study is still an obligatory reference and it offers an excellent introduction to the historical evolution of the question. Among recent collective works that attempt to offer an overview of the present state of the debate in different countries, we can cite Asher F. et al., Les territoires du futur . La Tour d'Aigues: DATAR-Éditions de l'Aube, 1993 (178 p.); Piroddi, E. et al.. Il futuro della città. Idee a confronto, Naples: CUEN, 1997 (148p.); and Nogué, J. (ed.), La ciutat. Visions, análisis i reptes.  Girona: Universitat de Girona, Girona 1998 (130 pp.).

3 For an overview of the evolution of the image of the ideal city throughout European history, see Rosenau, H., The Ideal City. Its Historical Evolution in Europe, 1983.

4 Chesneaux, J., Une lecture politique de Jules Verne. Paris: Maspero, 1970.

5 In recent times there has been a veritable rash of studies in the field of futurology, which indicates interest in the question but also a certain concern about the future. Some of these studies are very generic or particularly emphasise the political and bureaucratic issues, for example, Dejouvenel, H. and Roque, M.A. (dirs.), Catalunya a l'horitzó 2010. Prospectiva mediterrània, Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 1993 (382 p.), or the more recent study of SERRA, J. and VENTURA, A. Catalunya 2015. Opcions polítiques per al Segle XXI, Centre Català de Prospectiva-Centre UNESCO de Catalunya, Barcelona 1999 (103 pp.). Other studies, all from the general standpoint, are a response to the highly ambitious processes of public debate like those jointly fostered by the Associació Cívica Catalunya Segle XXI and the President's Office of the Generalitat of Catalonia, and their respective results have also been published as: CATALUNYA SEGLE XXI, La democràcia dels ciutadans, Edicions 62, Barcelona 1999 (188 pp.) and CATALUNYA DEMÀ. Both documents have chapters specifically dealing with the future of the territory and the city, and their postulates —which coincide in some cases and clearly contrast in others— are interesting to compare. In the specifically territorial and urban domains, the last years has seen the publication of La ciutat del futur, el futur de les ciutats, Fundació Rafael de Campalans, Barcelona 1998 (91 pp.) with papers by Jordi Borja, Oriol Nel·lo and Josep Maria Vallès. Again, on the occasion of the exhibition of "The Sustainable City" in the Centre de Cultura Contemporània, a workshop on the future organised by the Centre Català de Prospectiva (Catalan Centre of Futurology), and with the participation of numerous experts, led to the production of the document Escenaris de futur per a la ciutat de Barcelona i el seu entorn, Centre Català de Prospectiva, Barcelona 1998 (typescript). Finally, the review Medi Ambient. Tecnologia i Cultura has published a monographic number (December 1998) on "El paisatge ambiental a Catalunya l'any 2050" (The Environmental Landscape in Catalonia in the Year 2050), with papers by Jaume Miranda, Ignasi Doñate, Albert Garcia Espuche, Jordi Serra, Luis Angel Fernández Hermana, Lluís Reales, Albert Serratosa and Oriol Nel·lo.

6 Montoliu's formula is interesting because it incorporates both the notion of project (which always contains elements of utopian prefiguration) and that of strategy (or the practical capacity to carry it out). On the notion of urban strategies, see CECCHINI, A. and INDOVINA, F. (eds.), Strategie per un futuro possibile, Franco Angeli, Milan 1992 (188 pp.), and on the political implications of strategic decisions for the future, the essay by INDOVINA, "La città prossima futura: un nuovo protagonismo istituzionale" (paper presented at the Congress "I futuri della città: conoscenze di sfondo e scenari", held in Cortona from 3-5 December 1998, which is to be published shortly along with the other papers). On the myths that will have to be confronted in decision-making on the urban future, see HARVEY, D., "Perspectives urbanes per al segle XXI", in NOGUÉ, J., La ciutat... op. cit.

7 As I have noted on other occasions, the subject has given rise to a great number of studies from the most varied points of view. Lluís CASASSAS, dealt with the issues in his doctoral thesis, Barcelona i l'espai català. El paper de Barcelona en la formació i l'ordenament del territori de Catalunya (Curial, Barcelona 1977, 324 pp.), which has an extensive bibliography. Another bibliographic exploration may be found in the work of RIERA, P. "Les ciutats i el territori: balanç dels estudis sobre el sistema urbà de Catalunya, 1931-1991", in Primer Congrés Català de Geografia, Societat Catalana de Geografia, 1991 (volume II, Ponències, pp. 283-299). For the political and administrative aspects of the question, useful sources could be the collections by LLUCH, E. and NEL·LO, O. (eds.), La gènesi de la divisió territorial de Catalunya (1931-1936). Edició de documents de l'arxiu de la Ponència, Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona 1983 (413 pp. with one volume of maps) and El debat de la divisió territorial de Catalunya (1939-1983). Edició d'estudis, propostes y documents, Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona 1984 (1492 pp.). A historical reinterpretation of the debate has recently been proposed by GRAU, R. with "Barcelona i l'espai català. Un apunt sobre les grans línies de pensament territorial a Catalunya", in ROCA, J. (coord.), La formació del cinturó industrial de Barcelona, Institut de Cultura de l'Ajuntament de Barcelona-Ed. Proa, Barcelona 1997 (pp.3-10).

8 GAZIEL, "Les viles espirituals" [1923], in Obres completes, Selecta, Barcelona 1970 (pp. 1531-1539).

9 I have analysed the presence of these approaches in Catalan territorial thought over the last decades in the paper "Les teories sobre l'ordenament territorial de Catalunya. Els antecendents", in Primer Congrés Català de Geografia, Societat Catalana de Geografia, 1991 (volume II, Ponències, pp. 53-67).

10 Ramon Grau and I have attempted to trace a small genealogy of this tradition of thought in the monographic number that L'Avenç. Revista d'Història devoted to the matter under the title "Ciutat i territori: sis reflexions de Barcelona estant (1780-1936)" (Nº. 220, December 1997, pp. 21-68). After a general introduction ("Una tradició intel·lectual optimista"), there are six papers: "Antoni de Capmany, el primer de tots", by Ernest LLUCH; "La ciutat i la indústria: Balmes i Barcelona", by Josep Maria FRADERA; "Cerdà: Barcelona i Madrid", by Francesc ROCA; "Catalunya i Barcelona en el pensament dels positivistes: Sanpere i Estasén", by Francesc ARTAL; "Ildefons Sunyol: acció política i visió municipalista", by Ramon GRAU; and "Pi i Sunyer; el territori i la gestió del govern local", by Francesc VILANOVA.

11 PI I SUNYER, C., L'aptitud econòmica de Catalunya, Enciclopèdia Catalonia, Barcelona 1931.

12 CERDÀ, I., Teoria general de la urbanización y aplicación de sus principios y doctrinas a la reforma y ensanche de Barcelona, Madrid 1867 (p.51).

13 For recent processes of metropolitan transformation in the Barcelona are see the volume MANCOMUNITAT DE MUNICIPIS DE L'ÀREA METROPOLITANA DE BARCELONA, Dinàmiques metropolitanes a l'àrea i regió de Barcelona, MMAMB, Barcelona 1995, and the last two monographic numbers that the Revista Económica de Catalunya has devoted to the matter (December 1987 and March 1998). We, too, have attempted to analyse the dynamics involved in the paper "Les dinámiques metropolitanes: la difusió de la ciutat sobre el territori", in GINER, S. (dir.), La societat catalana, Institut d'Estadística de Cataluña, Barcelona 1998 (pp. 307-329).

14 In this regard, see the works of ROCA CLADERA, J. (dir.), La delimitació de l'àrea metropolitana de Barcelona, Centre de Política de Sòl i Valoracions, Barcelona 1997 (119 pp.) and La delimitación de l'àrea metropolitana de Barcelona, 1996, Centre de Política de Sòl i Valoracions, Barcelona 1998 (8pp.).

15 On the dynamics of metropolitanisation in the main Spanish cities see, for example, my report, "Las grandes ciudades españolas: dinámicas urbanas e incidencia de las políticas estatales", in Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, 27, Julio 1997 (pp. 9-71).

16 For a comparison of the variables of the territory, population and density of Barcelona and its metropolitan environs with those of other European urban realities, see the volume Dinàmiques metropolitanes... op. cit. For the specific question of comparative densities, the study directed by Josep Serra is interesting: SERRA, J., Grans aglomeracions metropolitanes d'Europa, MMAMB, Barcelona 1999 (duplicated text). A more complex comparison between Barcelona and ten other European cities and based on 83 urban indicators may be found with INSTITUT D'ESTUDIS METROPOLITANS DE BARCELONA, Indicadors urbans. Barcelona i el sistema europeu de ciutats, Barcelona 1998 (duplicated text).

17 On the transformation of metropolitan structure from the morphological perspective, see the atlas of FONT, A., LLOP, C., and VILANOVA, J.M., Génesis de la estrucutra espacial metropolitana de Barcelona, ETSAV, Sant Cugat del Vallès 1995, an advance of a bigger study that is still underway. See also the monographic number on this question of the collection Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona ("Les formes del creixement metropolità", Nº 26, January 1997), with an introduction by Antonio Font and papers by Manuel de Solà-Morales, Josep Parcerisa, Maria Rubert, Carles Llop, Josep Maria Vilanova and Amador Ferrer.

18 For data on land occupation in the metropolitana area of Barcelona, see the paper by SERRATOSA, A., "Els espais oberts en el planejament metropolità: realitats i propostes", in Papers. Regió Metropoltiana de Barcelona, 22, October 1994 (pp. 37-47), which has subsequently been widely cited and reproduced by other authors. For discussion of this issue (which is highly controversial in its implications with regard to judging Catalan city planning policy over the last two decades), see BERTRÁN, J., "Ciutat difusa vs. ciutat compacta. La crisi del model territorial català" and SOLANS, J.A., "El desenvolupament urbanístic i la conservació dels espais naturals", in Conferència d'espais naturals a la plana del Vallès", ADENC, Sabadell 1998 (pp. 47-78). A recent opinion concerning the future evolution of land occupation in the metropolitan area may be found in the paper of CARRERA, J.M., "Sistema de ciutats i ocupació del sòl", ESTEBAN, J. and BERNADA, J. (coord.), 1999. Urbanisme a Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona 1999 (pp. 248-257).

19 See "Barcelona: de la ciutat escenari a la ciutat geriàtric" (Avui, 26 January and 13 February 1998). A discussion of these views may be found in my article "Barcelona, ciutat decadent?", which was published in the same newspaper on 25 February 1998.

20 On the historical evolution of the relative influence of the different metropolitan areas with regard to jobs and resident population, see inter alia the works cited in f.n. 13.

21 For the roles of cities and their outlying areas in territorial articulation see LLEONART, P. and GAROLA, À., "Les ciutats intermèdies i la conurbació metropolitana: a la recerca de una model territorial pel segle XXI", in Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, 33 (pp. 116- 124). On the question of relative influence in the metropolitan area as a whole, see my chapter "Ciutats intenses: per una ciutat de ciutats. Reflexions sobre el paper de les ciutats de la segona corona metropolitana en l'articulació de l'àrea urbana de Barcelona", in VILAGRASSA, J. (ed.), Ciutats intermèdies i urbanització mundial. VII Setmana d'Estudis Urbans a Lleida (forthcoming).

22 See FERRER, A. and CARRERA, J.M., "L'espai i l'activitat comercial a Barcelona i la seva àrea d'influència", in Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, 22, January 1995 (pp. 45-59), a monographic number on the city and commerce that also includes papers by Marçal Tarragó, Ricard Pié, Josep Maria Bros, Josep Llobet, Francesc Mestres, Juan F. Mendoza, José Ignacio Galán, Enrich Llarch and Marisol Fraile. For a recent assessment of the relation between the urban development of Barcelona and the location of cultural facilities and services, see the work of FERRER, A. ("Els equipaments" and "La cultura com a nou referent de l'evolució de la ciutat") in ESTEBAN, J. and BERNADA, J. (eds.), 1999. Urbanisme a Barcelona... op. cit.

23 See SORKIN, M. (ed.), Variations on a Theme Park: the New American City and the End of Public Space, Hill & Wang, New York 1995 (249 pp.).

24 The basic source for study of enforced flows in mobility (for work and study purposes) in the metropolitan area of Barcelona is the census data offered in the Encuesta de Movilidad Obligada (Survey of Obligatory Mobility) which have been much used (see, for example, INSTITUT D'ESTUDIS METROPOLITANS DE BARCELONA, Anàlisi de la mobilitat obligada dels municipis de la província de Barcelona, 1986-1996, IEMB, Bellaterra 1999, duplicated manuscript). For useful data on non-obligatory mobility (for shopping, services and leisure), see the Encuestra Metropolitana (Metropolitan Survey) and its use in the first chapter of La transformació de la ciutat metropolitana. Una lectura de l'Enquesta sobre les condicions de vida i hàbits de la població de la regió metropolitana de Barcelona, IEMB, Barcelona 1998) and also the data from the Enquesta de Mobilitat Quotidiana (Everyday Mobillity Survey) of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (partially published under this title in two volumes). For a discussion of the patterns of mobility in the Barcelona metropolitan area and their economic, social and functional implications, see too Number 24 of the collection Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, with papers by Manuel Villalante, Joaquim Clusa, Jacint Soler, Josep Maria Aragay, Juli Garcia, Miguel Ángel Dombriz, Ole Thorson and Oriol Nel·lo.

25 See the paper "Tenim les infraestructures que necessitem? Necessitem la mobilitat que tenim?" given at the Symposium of Debate on Infraestructures i desenvolupament (Infrastructure and Development), in Barcelona, Palau de les Heures, November 1997 (typescript). For another assessment of the increased distance covered for work reasons between 1991 and 1996 in the metropolitan area (finding a rise in these five years of 25.6% or 1,205,296 extra kilometres covered per day), see CLUSA, J. and ROCA CLADERA, J., "Evolució de l'estructura urbana de Catalunya, 1991

1996. Impacte dels canvis experimentats en la distribució espacial de la població i la mobilitat per treball en el sistema català de ciutats", 1999 (in Nota d'Economia, forthcoming).

26 For an estimation of the environmental costs of increased mobility in Barcelona city proper, see BARRACÃ", H. et al., Barcelona 1985-1999. Ecologia d'una ciutat, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona 1999. For future costs in highway and public transport infrastructure, see CAMBRA OFICIAL DE COMERÇ INDUSTRIA I NAVEGACIÃ" DE BARCELONA, "Les infraestructures metropolitanes a l'àrea de Barcelona. Una aproximació als projectes en curs", in Memòria Econòmica de Catalunya 1995, COCINB, Barcelona 1996; and EQUIP REDACTOR DEL PLA TERRITORIAL METROPOLITÀ DE BARCELONA, Estudi economicofinancer i programa d'actuacions prioritàries, Barcelona 1998 (duplicated manuscript).

27 See data on average time spent on transport by the metropolitan population by gender, age, place of residence and socioeconomic category in La transformació de la societat metropolitana... op. cit. (pp. 31-34).

28 See La transformació de la societat metropolitana... op. cit. (p 27).

29 For a synthesis of this transformation, see CLUSA, J., "Barcelona: Economic Development, 1970-1995", in HARRIS, N. and FABRICIUS, I., Cities and Structural Adjustment, University College of London, London 1996 (pp. 102-116).

30 For an overview of the activities of Catalan town and city councils in the domain of town planning over the last two decades, see the chapter of FERRER, A. and SABATÉ, J., "Vint anys d'urbanisme a les ciutats catalanes", in NEL·LO, O. (dir.), Vint anys d'ajuntaments democràtics (1979-1999). Elements per a un balanç i un debat de futur, Federació de Municipis de Catalunya, Barcelona 1999 (pp. 121-159). For the specific case of the populations in the Barcelona metropolitan area, see Number 28 of the collection Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, "Els vint anys del Pla General Metropolità de Barcelona" (November 1997), with contributions of Albert Serratosa, Ricard Pié, Amador Ferrer, Fernando de Terán, Josep Maria Huertas, Juli Esteban and Joan Antoni Solans, and also the paper of FERRER, A. and NEL·LO, O., "Las políticas urbanísticas en la Barcelona metropolitana", in BRUGUÉ, J. and GOMÀ, R. (coord.), Gobiernos locales y políticas públicas, Ariel, Barcelona 1998 (pp. 189-210).

31 Thus, using the oft-cited data of the Metropolitan Survey, Albert Recio has shown how, in 1996, no less than 52% of the metropolitan inhabitants lived in homes with an input of some kind of social wage (pension, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, etc.). See La transformació de la societat metropolitana... op. cit. (pp. 120-134).

32 For the reasons behind metropolitan migration patterns and their social impact see the study of MÃ"DENAS, J.A., Anàlisi geodemogràfica de les àrees de relació migratoria a la regió metropolitana de Barcelona, Departament de Geografia de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra (typescript) and SERRA, J., "Migracions metropolitanes y desconcentració demogràfica", in Revista económica de Catalunya, 33, 1997 (pp.77-88). Also useful might be my study "Les dinàmiques metropolitanes..." op. cit.

33 On these data see the paper by Albert Recio quoted in f.n. 31 above, and also in Nº 25 of Papers. Regió metropolitana de Barcelona, "Enquesta de la Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona (1995): primers resultats" (Sepember 1996). For a specific analysis of the same phenomenon in the municipality of Barcelona with very similar results, see also ALUJA, T., Index de capacitat econòmica familiar a la ciutat de Barcelona, 1988-1991-1996, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona 1998 (duplicated manuscript).

34 See, for example, the well-known article of CHESHIRE, P., "A New Phase of Urban Development in Western Europe. The Evidence for the 1980s", in Urban Studies, XXXII, 7 (pp. 145-1,063).

35 See RÀFOLS, J. (dir.), Dinàmiques residencials a la ciutat de Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona 1997 (341 pp.) and the papers published in Nº 29 of Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, "L'habitatge en les àrees centrals" (February 1998).

36 See the study supervised by the geographer DURÀ, A., L'emigració residencial del continu urbà del Barcelonès vers la resta de la regió metropolitana de Barcelona, IEMB, Bellaterra 1998 (duplicated manuscript) and the works cited in f.n. 32 above.

37 In his lecture, "Quina ciutat?" in Catalunya Segle XXI. Documents de Treball, 4, 1998 (pp. 15-36).

38 The technical experts who are mainly responsible for this evolution have given their views on this trajectory in the volume of interviews carried out by FERRER, A. and SABATÉ, J., "L'urbanisme municipal a Catalunya, 1979-1999", Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, 32, March 1999. See too the works cited in f.n. 30 above.

39 A preliminary document has been produced by the Territorial Plan Office, under the supervision of the engineer Albert SERRATOSA (Pla Territorial Metropolità. Document provisional, 5 vol., along with a CD, April 1998) but the technical and political discussion is still in the early stages. The absence of debate on this project (which, while it makes some interesting proposals, also has, in my view, some serious problems), is a symptom of the too-scant presence of territorial issues in today's political and civic debate. For a summary of critical observations on the project to date, see ESTEBAN, J., "L'abast del Pla Territorial Metropolità de Barcelona en l'ordenació metropolitana de Barcelona", in 1999. Urbanisme de Barcelona... op. cit. (pp. 261-267).

40 See, for example, the article by FOLCH, R. and PARÍS, A., "Socioecologia i gestió ambiental a l'àrea de Barcelona", in Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, 34, January 1998 (pp. 52-62) and the papers collected in the collective volume of RUEDA, S. et al. La ciutat sostenible, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona 1998 (125 pp.).

41 BALDRICH, M., Ante el crecimiento desmesurado de las aglomeraciones urbanas: la ciudad comarca, Impremta Escola Casa de Caritat, Barcelona 1951.

42 See, for example, MAS COLELL, A., "L'economia de les ciutats", in Barcelona Economia, 20, 1993. For an application of thse ideas to the metropolitan reality of Barcelona, see also TRULLÉN, J., "Factors territorials de competitivitat de la Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona", in Revista económica de Catalunya, 34, January 1998 (pp. 34-50).

43 See Ciutats intenses... op. cit., and the other works cited in f.n. 21 above.

44 See GUTIÉRREZ PUEBLA, J. et al., "Accessibilidad en la Unió Europea: un análisis comparado según modos de transporte", in Estudios de Transportes y Comunicaciones, 70, 1996 (pp. 7-19), and the study Indicadors urbans... op. cit.

45 On the large-scale infrastructure of metropolitan Barcelona's external connections, see the proposals in the volume of BARCELONA REGIONAL, Infraestructures i sistemes generals metropolitans. Propostes per a una reflexió, BR, Barcelona 1996 (69 pp.). For the economic implications of the Delta Plan, see inter alia, ALEMANY, J., El Plan Delta. Análisis económico dedlas grandes infraestructuras, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Barcelona 1995 (59pp).

46 See Indovina, F., "La città  possibile", in La città  fine millennio. Milan: Franco Angeli, Milan 1991 (pp. 11-74).

47 Borja, J., "Ciutadania i espai públic", in La ciutat del futur... op. cit. (pp. 21-58).

48 See the monographic issues of Papers. Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, 20, October 1994 "Els espais oberts: parcs, rius i costes", and of Àrea. Revista de debats territorials, 6 February 1999 "L'anella verda", with papers by Jordi Bertrán and Antoni Montseny, and also the article by FERRER, A., "L'objectiu d'un sistema metropolità d'espais lliures", in 1999. Urbanisme a Barcelona... op. cit. (p.258-260).

49 See VALLÈS, J.M. and NEL·LO, O., "De ciutat a metrópoli. Notes per a una lectura del Pla Estratègic Barcelona 2000 des d'una perspectiva metropolitana", in Barcelona economía, 18, 1993 (pp.9-20). For a more general approach, see too "Políticas urbanas y gobierno metropolitano en el proceso de integración europea", in Ciudad y Territorio, Estudios Territoriales, 106, 1995 (pp. 783-792).