To What Extent Have Major Global Events in Barcelona Been a Catalyst for Urban Regeneration Essay

To what extent have major planetary events in Barcelona been a accelerator for urban regeneration


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The chase of urban regeneration is seen as ‘a comprehensive integrated vision and action which leads to the declaration of urban jobs and which seeks to convey about enduring alteration in the economic, societal, physical and environmental status of an country that has been the topic of alteration ‘ ( Roberts and Sykes, 2000, p.17 ) . This is a pattern that had its modern embodiment in the late nineteenth century, with determination shapers recognizing the importance of the urban environment, which was recognised as a requirement and a accelerator for economic development. During this clip, the relationship between big scale events and strategic urban regeneration has gripped the imaginativeness of urban contrivers. This is mostly due to the sensed economic and societal benefits of hosting major events and developing substructure.

The vision of Barcelona as a phase began with the first Universal Exhibition of 1888, which is often adopted as the twelvemonth which separated two differentiated periods in the metropolis ‘s urban and cultural history. The International Exposition of 1929 and the 1992 Olympic Games can besides be recognized as portion of this long tradition in the matter-of-fact usage of major events. It is just to state that Barcelona has experienced a profound urban transmutation, and has frequently been referred to as the ‘Barcelona theoretical account ‘ by economic experts, geographers and town contrivers for being an outstanding illustration of betterment to a metropolis.

My research aims to look into the grade in which the metropolis has been affected by three selected major events that have taken topographic point over the last 125 old ages, and to reason whether they can be seen as a cause instead than a symptom of the aforesaid transmutation. The three single events will be investigated in three chapters, get downing with the Universal Exposition of 1888 and stoping with the Olympic Games of 1992.

1888 Universal Exposition


It is indispensable to put the Universal Exposition of 1888 within a larger urban sequence, so as non to demo an excessively simplified urban context. This analysis will seek to demo a consideration of this historical period and will analyze the alterations in the urban spacial construction in order to understand the relationship between the countries where the expounding took topographic point and the full metropolis.

Large exhibitions such as those in Paris, London, Philadelphia and Vienna were organised by major states in order to show their power and wealth to the universe. The event in Barcelona is placed in the class of smaller exhibitions which took topographic point in Amsterdam, Nice, Frankfurt, Bordeaux and Antwerp. The purposes of these were more modest and were non held in capital metropoliss. Because they were non to a great extent capable to the rhetoric of the major states, they were purely involved with the urban context.

In Barcelona, an of import function in building the modern metropolis has been attributed to the 1888 Universal Exposition, which continues to be present in the urban landscape and besides in the corporate memory.

The event seems to hold a double involvement. The first was urban planning policy that followed the blessing of Ildefonso Cerda ‘s 1859 Ensanche undertaking for Barcelona, and the creative activity of Barcelona as we know it today. Second, it permits a contemplation on several be aftering aims and methods that were extremely relevant at the clip.

Figure 1. Proyecto de Ensanche de Barcelona, Ildefonso Cerda 1859 ( Atlas de Barcelona ) .

Urban Growth prior to the exhibition

The blessing of the planning undertaking designed by Cerda was non good received. Opposition arose and from this came arguments which suggested that the proposals and old undertakings inspired by local petitions led to thoughts of urban involvement and values which differed well to Cerda ‘s designs. The municipal Administration held a competition because of this resistance, won by the Architect Rovira I Trias. This undertaking was the best advocate of an thought that Cerda had overlooked. It attended to the design of urban infinites, the building of a phase for the new urban elites and the new metropolis ‘s ocular and monumental values that were capable of showing aspirations for higher degrees of civilisation and modernisation ( Espuche et al, 1991, p.141 ) . This meant that his undertaking was closer to the involvements and aspirations of Spain ‘s 2nd metropolis, which wanted to take on the clear position of a capital.

One of the alterations of Cerda ‘s Undertaking in the class of its building was the Universal Exposition. There was opposition to the programs for public infinites, with the being of the Ciudadela military installing busying one of the undertakings cardinal sectors.


An economic crisis became evident in Barcelona in 1882 and worsened towards 1885 before the rhythm ended, which meant that the thought for the Universal Exposition appeared during a hard period for the metropolis. Such a crisis meant that there were hard societal and wellness conditions, which so related to a down state of affairs in the edifice sector, which was at its lowest in 1885-6. From its origin in 1885 until April 1887, the expounding was promoted by a private group, which used smaller international exhibitions as theoretical accounts for its attack. The authorities so took over because the inactivity by the boosters became excessively obvious.

The location of the exhibition in Ciutadella Park was a logical pick, with the association between authorities owned Parkss and exhibitions being common in the nineteenth century. This was the lone available public infinite nevertheless because of the weak fiscal state of affairs of the authorities. The infinite had good properties: It had good rail connexions, was near to the port and some of the chief axes which were under building at the clip. Because many plants were non finished, it was n’t hard to accommodate to the altering demands.

The chief aims were to project Barcelona’s repute and stimulate foreign involvement, and to work as a mechanism to speed up the edifice work that had already started. Constructing licenses of the metropolis show nevertheless, that few licenses were handed over in the country environing the park where the expounding took topographic point. Merely a few decennaries before, this was considered to be one of the most attractive countries of the metropolis. The outlook about selling these secret plans in the 1870s started to alter towards 1880. The troubles became obvious in the few old ages before the expounding, when after selling 40 % of the secret plans, the tendency remained unchanged. At the clip of the expounding gap, of import parts of the evidences had still non been sold. After 1888, the gross revenues fell even lower and it seemed apparent that the expounding was holding no impact on the procedure.

Although there was no roar in edifice plants, the immediate consequence of the expoundings impact on political and economical involvements of Catalonia within the Spanish province should non be underestimated. Long before 1888, Barcelona needed to sell either its ain economic system ‘s merchandises or the mark of its unheard of position as a capital metropolis. This meant that in the long term, its purpose was to be non merely a political investing, but besides a national and international award for its position as a little industrial state.

Urban Beautification

On rating of the expounding as a mechanism to bring forth a modernizing urban construction, a reasonably weak impact has been observed. However, the expounding can be considered as an instrument for the desire to better the beautification and monumentalization of the metropolis. It expressed the values and civilization of the urban elite, every bit good as affecting the visitants.

An of import feature of 19th century urban history was the willingness to restitute the image of a metropolis. The transition of a metropolis into a ‘work of art ‘ was followed in a neoclassical tradition, and this allowed the acquisition of new productive and cultural significances ( Olsen, 1986 ) . A meaningful illustration of the spread of new thoughts about monumentality prevarications in Gaudi ‘s account of his streetlamp undertaking. In 1878, he spoke of the demand to see public streets of ‘the modern metropoliss and particularly the trading metropoliss ‘ . He explained that they ‘not merely work to link the different parts of the metropolis but besides were topographic points for meeting and doing contracts every bit good as for walking and leisure ‘ . It was at this clip that the thought of monumentality extended from individual edifices to full urban countries.

Although non being wholly responsible for it, the expounding had given an chance of a greater impulse for urban contrivers sing the beautification policy which started in the mid nineteenth century. At the terminal of the 1880 ‘s, several intercessions had been made to the aim of accomplishing a ‘monumental and beautiful metropolis ‘ . ( Pirozzini, 1882 ) The apogee of some of these undertakings occurred in relation to the Exhibition: public sculpture, triumphal arches, urban landscape gardening, assorted urban ornaments, and new pavings. These facets, along with the monumental edifices, meant a announcement of the aspirations and glorifications of a dynamic Barcelona that was n’t yet industrialized.

Under the leading of Elies Rogent, the Barcelona School of Architecture, founded in 1874-5, assigned a squad of designers to utilize the expounding as a point of mention upon which to experiment with possibilities of a new architecture. This hunt for a new ‘modern and national ‘ architecture was focused on the volume, public dimension and corporate significance of erected edifices, and has lead the expounding to be considered as the threshold to the period of modern-day Catalan architecture known as ‘modernismo ‘ .


Decoration, invention, monumentality and efficiency were the basic aims of urban policy around the clip of the expounding. Despite this, precedence was given to monumental facets instead than technological 1s. ( J. Marfany, 1986 ) . The grounds of efforts to accommodate the willingness to fancify the metropolis with the technological and modern values were the wooden pavings, which were introduced as major inventions. Other new signifiers of urban trappingss were besides seen in such characteristics as hoardings, pneumatic redstem storksbills, automatic platforms, bases for newspapers, and public lavatories. All of these added to the widely distributed expression, which was emphasized because of the expounding. Another relevant instance was the installing of electric lighting in the most of import public infinites within the metropolis. The full Rambla, the Passeig de Isabel II, Passeig de Palau and Passeig de la Aduana taking up to the entryway to the park were electrified. This connexion between the Centre of the metropolis and the expounding country was appraised.

1929 International Exposition


The realization of an international event was promoted in the first decennary of the 20th century, which led to the construct of the 1929 International Exposition. The Universal Exposition of 1888 led to a great progress in the metropolis ‘s economic, architectural and technological growing and development, and the necessity for the continuance of urban regeneration through the bend of the century will be analysed to find the lengths contrivers went through to implement a successful regenerate undertaking.

The thought of the Exposition was latent in the urban planning programme of the industrial party, and the designer Puig I Cadafalch voiced it in a front page article in La Veu de Catalunya newspaper, naming for ballots in the 1905 elections: “Come and ballot! For the Great Exhibition.” In the article he justified the expounding as a manner of implementing the chief organic structure of thoughts in the Interconnections Plan that had been proposed in the same twelvemonth by Gallic urban contriver Leon Jaussely. This was a fully-fledged organic structure of urban development theory that applied to the whole metropolis. It included the cardinal standards of a desire to monumentalize the metropolis and peculiar insisting on the debut of green infinite, which until so was practically non-existent. Jaussely ‘s program was viewed favorably by a jury including Puig I Cadafalch, which pronounced that the completion of the undertaking would do Barcelona “the loveliest metropolis in the Mediterranean” .

Laussely based his proposals on three standards: the zoning of activities, the agreement of green infinites, and street and avenue design. These standards were applied to an country that had ne’er been designed as a whole and hence required the add-on of farther theory to do its urban continuity viable. It besides signalled an expressed rejection of Cerda ‘s program and his isotropic grid program by presenting a assortment of diagonal elements. It besides consolidated a catalogue of junction subdivisions to guarantee the viability of the hierarchal construction of infinites and streets proposed by the program, such as avenues, landscaped avenues and high streets. These represented a airy theoretical and practical attack.

The urban location of the Exposition was a critical issue. The experience of the 1888 expounding had revealed some attendant troubles in relation to development of the chosen country, but it did foreground the attractive force of the urban betterments that an event of this sort could convey about.

The initial hypothesis centred on the eastern sector of the metropolis with a position to urbanizing the Besos park as suggested by Cerda ‘s undertaking. At the same, Montjuic was deriving in stature as an option with the possibility of distilling the urbanization of a park on the mountain. The two options were clear antonyms: Besos or Montjuic, the E or West of the bing metropolis. In 1913 a commision was created, and the determination was given to Montjuic. This determination represented Barcelona ‘s hereafter development towards the West. Particular conditions for the expounding undertaking were that it would be built on inclining land, and this would be the first clip an attractive force of this range took topographic point on a mountain with the features of Montjuic.

Puig I Cadafalch was responsible for several cardinal operations in the overall layout. He designed the chief axis, the Gran Avenida, which, get downing out from the Centre of contemporary Placa d’Espanya, non-existent at the clip, drew out a forceful line from the north towards the mountain. He besides designed the square with a colonnade, organizing an imposing facade for the expounding edifices.

Construction of the undertakings began in 1917 with the purpose of completion in 1919. However, the gait of work on the development was impermissibly slow, and the day of the month was set back to 1923, though political events besides changed the class of the expounding. The absolutism of Primo de Rivera was introduced in 1921, and his far-reaching alterations into municipal and Catalan disposal meant that building work was blocked until 1925, when the middle class made a treaty with the dictator and work was resumed on the expounding, which was so rescheduled for 1929.

The recommencement of work involved public competitions and committees one time the basic urbanization work had been completed, and these edifices varied a great trade in size – from 5,000 to 30,000m2 – as did their manners and building methods. The expounding was an urban planning and architectural effort, as opposed to later times when the exhibition would go

On 19 May 1929 the metropolis of Barcelona inaugurated its 2nd international exhibition.The generation of readying goes back to 1913 with the determinations of the Catalan industrialists and politicians to give a new encouragement to the economic system and show the progresss brought approximately by the debut of electricity in the industrial production procedure and the clip. Barcelona City Council so agreed that the infinite that will host the event would Montjuic, promoting the renovation of vicinities sector and big countries of military legal power hitherto untouchable. The eruption of war municial in 1914, the economic crisis, societal and international policy after go forthing the absurd thought to keep a first International Exhibition of Electrical Industries, since this power line was no longer new.But the same inaugural cultural Reconstruction of the state that was born of the desire to function the Commonwealth Government Dictatorship to seek to acquire out of economic stagnancy and work out the bing job of unemployment throughout the province.

Ildefons Cerda , represents one of the most important

illustrations of early modern town planning. His strategy was the first usage of

“neoliberal” programs that restructured or expanded bing metropoliss during the

2nd half of the 19th century to suit the commercial,

societal and representational demands of the new entrepreneurial class.3 The

Eixample became the model within which the combined endowments of

Barcelona’s turn-of-the century modernist designers could boom. Their

edifices, most notably Antoni Gaudi’s, made Barcelona renowned as La

Ciudad de los Prodigios, or the City of Marvels.4 This was besides a metropolis of

intense category struggles, a metropolis with no aristocracy and common mans but of

capitalists and workers, many of them nihilists and Marxists. The metropolis was

frequently rocked by episodes of rebellion aimed at the church and the clergy.5

After the bend of the century, the thought of an Exposicion Universal

that would move as a show window of Barcelona’s position as the prominent

fabricating Centre in Spain took clasp. One of the most of import

designers of the modernist period, Josep Puig I Cadafalch, besides a politician,

supported the thought as a mechanism to better the substructure of the metropolis.

While the chief edifices of the Exposicion of 1929 were located on the

mountain of Montjuic, the full metropolis benefited from a system of avenues,

Parkss, edifices and place built at this clip.


Modernization through edifices

1992 Olympic Games


The Olympic Games are regarded as the universes most esteemed featuring juncture. They are typical of major events in that they bring short-run international attending and can hold long-run effects for the host metropolis ( Richie and Smith, 1991 ) . In order to appreciate why the Olympics have progressively been used as an chance for urban regeneration, it is of import to put them within the context of wider alterations in the urban economic system. The part of major events, such as the Olympics, to schemes for urban regeneration is strongly associated with passages from industrial to post-industrial society and from modernism to post-modernism ( Tickell and Peck, 1995 ) . It should non be overlooked, nevertheless, that the significant renovations of Barcelona around the clip of the Expositions of 1888 and 1929 were long earlier post-modernism and these have left a grade on the metropolis of Barcelona.

Barcelona has seen a profound urban transmutation over the last 30 old ages because of this. It has been referred to as the ‘Barcelona theoretical account ‘ , which ‘for urban transmutation … has been a mention for other metropoliss since the mid-’80s – the outstanding illustration of a certain manner of bettering metropoliss ‘ ( Marshall, 2004 p.1 )

The ‘reconstruction of the city’ and ‘qualitative’ planning: the undertakings of retrieving

public infinite during the 1980s

Strategic planning: substructure and major urban undertakings of the mid-1980s and the 1990s

Urban reclamation and suburbanization: metropolitan positions

Epilogue and decisions


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