I. Chapter 9 THE ELEVATOR PLAN IN LA BARCELONETA: CITY INTERVENTIONS AND RESISTANCES

CHAPTER 9

THE ELEVATOR PLAN IN LA BARCELONETA: CITY INTERVENTIONS AND RESISTANCES

INTRO

In this section we will discuss selected texts which we gathered from interviews and media sources from ‘la Barceloneta’, Barcelona, Spain from 2006 through 2010. We juxtaposed and contrasted the texts of the city with those of resistance to see how they worked against each other to reflect on their potentials as strategies of particular contingencies of urban power relations. A series of urban plans by the city government of Barcelona had been initiated in 2006 with the aim of ‘upgrading’ the living conditions of particularly the older residents of the neighbourhood who were living in older buildings. The ‘elevator plan’ was so named by the residents because one of its central proposals was to construct elevators in many of the older residential buildings. Other modifications that the city planned were the construction of a new market, renovations of the central plaza and some other public buildings as part of a general urban plan for the city . It was an initiative of the city government managed through a public-private entity called the Foment Cuitat Vella S.A. founded in 2004 (((???check this))) . The Elevator Plan was proposed along with the relocation of 200 residents to a new building constructed outside the previously existing boundaries of the neighbourhood . In terms of city urban government, ‘la Barceloneta’ is under the jurisdiction of the ‘Old City’ (Cuitat Vella). The city justified the need for this type of urban intervention as such:

Dades que motiven la posada en marxa d’aquest programa

..la Barceloneta prop de 5.000 habitatges "de quart". La superfície útil d’aquests habitatges és d’uns 30 m2. Només 86 finques compten amb l’ascensor instal•lat. Les finques de "quart" constitueixen el 60% dels habitatges del barri (5.039). Segons dades del padró, a la Barceloneta, un 40% dels habitatges tenen un únic ocupant, en un altre 30 % hi ha dos ocupants, i al 30% restant hi viuen tres o més residents. El Pla Integral de la gent gran de la Barceloneta ha permès afegir a aquestes dades un element per a la preocupació. Un 26’4% dels habitants tenen 65 anys o més, i la meitat d’aquesta xifra 75 anys o més. I un 31’7% dels majors de 65 anys viuen sols. D’acord amb l’estructura d’edats, hi ha 23’3% que correspon a l’interval entre 65 i 69 anys i fins un 47’8% entre 85 i 89 anys. En conclusió, un terç de la gent gran del barri de la Barceloneta viu sola en habitatges que no compten amb ascensor . -Regidor de la Cuitat Vella (2007) The primary justification for removing a section of each building and moving 200 residents essentially out of the neighbourhood was that the elderly residents (26.4 percent of the residents of the neighbourhood) needed elevators to be mobile and function adequately. In this way the city identifies as the humanitarian social advocates concerned primarily with the well being of those in the neighbourhood who are most vulnerable. The city justified the removal of a portion of these residents to a new apartment complex being built on the other side of a major thoroughfare by saying that these residents would have bigger apartments with modern facilities, better living conditions. Opposing voices gave their evaluations: Jo diria que no està justificat, perquè posar ascensor en una trama com la de la Barceloneta, planteja molts problemas i jo crec que en lo bàsic es tindria d’enfrontar d’altra manera. El tema de l’assesibilitat, es podria solucionar d’altra manera, per operacions més delicades; baixant a la gent gran a plantes baixes, ocupant pisos buits, fent en àrea del que queda per construit del Passeig Marítum habitatges per a la gent gran tuelats, hi has altres solucions, el que si ès cert, en el barri és el problema d’envelliment, però la solució per donar asistencia no passa només perls ascensores, passa per altres mesures també. El Pla, que parteix presumptament de la millota de l’accessibilitat vertical urbana, però, quan ho llegeixes, realmente, et provoca una situació de total intervenció indeiscriminada en el barri que no se ha situat en el temps i espai i que a mès no està basat en cap estudi rigorós. (Tatjer Mir, 2007; Pg.5). In this critique of the cities plan, the text suggests that there is a more ‘delicate’ way to intervene in the problem which the neighbourhood has (mobility for older residents) and that the cities plan is a totally indiscriminant intervention not situated in the context (space and time) of the neighbourhood, an intervention which is not based on any rigorous ‘study’. It suggests that there are much less interventionist ways to work on the problem of mobility for elderly residents such as to place older residents in the street floors of the buildings, to occupy buildings in the neighbourhood that are vacant, and relocate elderly in new housing inside the neighbourhood. The critique challenges the logic behind the large scale renovation of a large number of the older buildings (not to negate the need to reform these buildings which many property owners have let run down). In a stronger critique a lawyer working with an opposition group: El papel del Ayuntamiento? Lo que se está haciendo es contravenir el papel del estado. Un inversor actúa dentro de los márgenes que le permite la ley y así lo hará en La Barceloneta. En este caso cualquier promotor o inmobiliaria podría adquirir, primero este piso, luego aquel, luego el administrador me dice que hay otro que se vende….así podría ir adquiriendo propiedades hasta tener el 50% plus 1 de esta finca o de aquella. Como todos sabemos, el papel del estado siempre ha sido, o en teoría debería ser, la redistribución dirigida a corregir las desigualdades y mejorar la situación de los peor situados. En este caso estamos ente lo contrario; lo que ocurrirá será una transmisión de riqueza hacia los inversores. Y eso es todo lo contrario del papel que le toca al poder público. -Entrevista con Pere Comas, Abogado de la Associó de Veins de l’Ostia Y de la Plataforma d’Afectats i Afectadas de la Barceloneta. Masala. Juliol-Agosto 2008. The text accuses the city of taking the role of the ‘State’ implying in the role of social manager, of a welfare function in which the city identifies with acting to make sure residents have an adequate standard of living. Yet within the margins of legality the Plan opens the door for promoters and real estate developers to buy up flats until they have a majority percentage of ownership in the building and thus the power to approve the Plan to put elevators in the building. In theory, the critique goes on to say, that the role of the State should be redistribution (of resources) to correct inequalities and improve the situation of those who are less favourably situated. The author states that the Plan would work to create the opposite, to transmit wealth to investors, totally in contradiction to what the city is responsible for. Elevators, subjects and strategies We were interested in how texts of support and opposition could be juxtaposed and read as conflicts surrounding forms and practices of governance and subjectivity. The cities rational has no apparent analysis of conflicting interests, rather making it a more ‘mechanical’ problem with a ‘simple’ but extremely large scale solution which would affect the majority of the residents of the neighbourhood directly or indirectly. In the sense the ‘reader’ as a subjective position is produced as naïve, convinced with a broad simple solution that involves the major disruption of their urban environment. The city is to be ‘trusted’ as it has the residents, particularly the older resident’s interests in mind. Nothing is said about competing interests so the private sector is invisiblized and thus power relationships themselves are unidentifiable. The critiques of the Plan in contrast is based on an analysis of power relations and points toward alternative possibilities which place importance on particular qualities which center on minimizing the impact on residents. It challenges also and makes visible that the private sector has profit interests which are potentially in contrast with what the city suggests as its priority. Questions are also raised as to the roles of the State and the City and their relationship. The reader is ‘produced’ as a subject interested and needing to be informed and critique in particular the competing power interests of the public and private sector and evaluate what is in the best interests of the residents. The critique also could be read as ‘simplified’ in terms of producing large polarities between interests of the city, State and private sector. We begin by introducing a summary of citytexts used by city officials and residents to both describe the neighbourhood of ‘la Barceloneta’ and to justify the cities proposals both in terms of political process and in terms of concrete urban development projects. We then examine the texts of resistance from those groups and individuals critical of the cities plans and reflect on their significance in terms of the reproduction and contestation of modern urban power relations. In the first part of this chapter we will describe a group of texts which were produced by city officials or those supporting the cities urban plan concerning the urban restructuring plans of the city. We do this to analyze a type of official text of the ‘city’ representing the social body and institution which exercises the official authority to collect city public funds, direct, regulate, and manage urbanization processes. We focused on the aspect of governance in terms of the cities role, thus choose texts which reflected this. We might have chosen to analyse the texts of the private sector, but this would have amounted to another type of study. We agree with Roses assessment that governance in terms of modern western society involves the production of normative concepts which are reproduced throughout a multitude of levels of society, based on constructions of the ‘free’ subject and ‘good government’. We focus on citytext because these are the justifications for the way in which the city exercises the right to design, produce, manage urban planning for the city, and use public funds to forward these projects, increasingly in mixed public and private development corporations. The city governments in Western Europe identify with having the task of representing and forwarding the interests of ‘the people’, and, within the rhetoric of Western liberal democracies, must justify why the decisions they are making are in the best interests of ‘the people’ or residents of the city, which form part of Western urban restructuring text. These norms are produced at multiple levels of society, from neighbourhood discussions, police vigilance, commercial business practices, and all the levels of the city urban political structure, as well as at the State and International level. In our discussion section we consider how these multiple scales can be read in terms of local urban contexts. We begin Part I by presenting selections of ‘citytexts’ and analyzing some of what we consider their productive qualities. We then contrast this in Part II with selections from opposing text to focus on the discrepancies, the antagonisms between the two. Part III uses both opposing and supportive texts to look at how they reflect urban political process and its resistances. As liberal western ‘liberal’ democracies are required to use rational legitimizations to forward their urban interventions, urban resistance can choose to argue that the ‘rational’ of the city is false and present new possible readings or alternatives. We look at both the justifications of the supportive text for the cities urban plans and their oppositions as productive debates in terms of political subjects, objects and histories embedded in terms of time, place and space and at times, ideology. We also reflected on how the tensions and antagonisms were related to potentially new forms of urban ‘governance’, resistance and new possibilities for more community based urban politics. PART ONE: SUPPORTING TEXT FOR THE CITIES URBAN PLAN for la Barceloneta Text Hola Barceloneta, El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona inicia el Proyecto de Intervención Integral o Plan de Barrios de la Barceloneta para mejorar, transformar e impulsar el barrio. El proyecto nace del compromiso del Ayuntamiento de la ciudad con la Barceloneta y es beneficiario de las ayudas de la Ley de barrios de la Generalitat de Cataluña. El Plan de Barrios de la Barceloneta contempla diferentes actuaciones urbanísticas y sociales con el fin de mejorar las condiciones de vida de los vecinos y vecinas del barrio, y especialmente de los colectivos más desfavorecidos. Entendemos que para conseguir una mejora medioambiental, urbanística y social tenemos que trabajar codo a codo con la gente de la Barceloneta y tener en cuenta los elementos más característicos del barrio. Apostamos por la participación ciudadana y por encontrar nuevas formas de relación entre la Administración y la ciudadanía para que el Plan de Barrios beneficie a todo el mundo. Estamos convencidos de que este proyecto será muy importante para el barrio y aportará muchos cambios positivos. Por eso animamos a todo el mundo a darle la bienvenida: ¡Hola, Barceloneta! -From the city governments website (2010). http://www.barcelonetapladebarris.cat/entre_tots.php The city government is ‘enthusiastically’ greeting the neighbourhood announcing that it has initiated new urban plans which will improve and ‘impulsar’ or stimulate the neighbourhood. These ideas were born from an agreement between the city and the ‘citizens’ of the neighbourhood and both parties were involved in the original creation of the urban plan. The city government reproduces itself as the social body which has the right and exercises the right to funds (of the wider Catalunya government – the Generalitat) which have been approved by the cities own laws to make these improvements. In this text the city government is the ‘good government’ which brings benefits to all the residents. The good government is ‘humanitarian’ in that it is especially concerned with those who are most disadvantaged. This ‘good government’ recognizes that it needs to work ‘hand in hand’ with the residents, thus it is a cooperative grass roots government. It also protects the historical values of the neighbourhood in this cooperative process. The ‘neighbourhood’ is a historically valuable place, a place where the residents live and where they are potentially interested in ‘improvements’. The resident is at first enlisted in the text as passive; the recipient of government money, and then someone who is called into a cooperative relationship with the city government to maintain the most valuable historical elements of the neighbourhood. In the last statement the resident is being asked to be a ‘participating’ citizen by working with the city to find new ways to work together so that the Plan can benefit the ‘whole world’. So the project the city government is calling for is for the benefit of the residents, the humanitarian aid of the disadvantaged and the benefit of the ‘world’. It is a particular cry to solidarity, that speaks in a particular way toward a ‘citizen’ who is ‘helpful’ by working with the cities plan to create a more humane and improved city for all, for the ‘world’. This city sees only positive in its plan and encourages a ‘welcome’ from the whole world to the neighbourhood. Continuing in its optimism, the city is the ‘good city’ bringing new ideas, plans and the money to do them. They only ask for the cooperation of those whom will benefit from these changes and the trust that this cooperation implies, that they are out for the residents best interest. The text even suggests that the world will benefit directly and welcome them by ‘getting on board’. It also implies that making these changes is just a matter of cooperating and even ‘easy’ with no opposing forces in sight. In this sense then the ‘good’ citizen is one who trusts the city as benefactor, protector and promoter, who trusts also that the city will work with them so that their voices will be heard and considered in the Plan. Object(s) What is the ‘object’ that the city is describing here in this text? This city is made up literally of ‘barrios’ or neighbourhoods in which the city government improves through certain means and under certain conditions. We considered whether a type of ‘city’ was the object of the text, or a type of citizen. It seems clear the proper citizen as a subjectivity is in relation to creating a particular type of city, a city that could thrive in the new ‘global’ context. When the city text states that to reach the objective of improving the urban and social environment it is referring to the city context itself- a ‘better citylife’ for the residents means the object is a certain kind of city. Subject(s) The first subject is the city government who is talking to the second subject, the residents themselves who live in the neighbourhood. The third subject, interestingly, is ‘the world’. The neighbourhood is constructed as a kind of secondary object, the ‘place’ where the city government intervenes for the benefit of the residents and together they comprise the ‘good city’. Coherence The coherence of the text is in its progressive and cooperative nature, toward the better (and welcoming) world. There is a seamlessness in terms of history, a kind of linear advancement where cooperation and hard work make everything better for everyone. The subjects are of two types; those who live in the neighbourhood and those who want to help (the city government). Absent or ‘the other’ It is the obvious to point out is the fact that the private system is missing from this citytext. This invisibilizes the urban agent which arguably has perhaps the greatest direct impact on the urban development of the neighbourhood and in this way invisibilizes and distorts power relations themselves. The implications for the absence of the private sector are significant and beg the issue of the ‘conflict of interest’ between the public and private sector to such a degree that it is possible that any discussion about the role of the private system in terms of urban development has the potential to be marginalized as irrelevant or secondary. This absence also distorts the urban history of the neighbourhood by not mentioning how the private sector has effected and continues to affect the neighbourhood, the relationship between the city and the private sector and the resistance of the residents. This text reads as a ‘positive’ version of history and development thus marginalizing critical perspectives. We can ask why the city chooses to promote its urban plans in such a simplified and ‘fantasy’ manner (meaning artificially positive) rather than discuss both the positives and negatives, or to make a more critical reflective critique even of its own urbanization. The text reads as a promotion, a kind of selling of a version of reality which in many ways contrasts with the realities that the residents themselves express. This ‘gap’ between the city government’s version of progress and the mixed experiences of the residents presents a textual space which we will consider in our later discussion. SUPPORTIVE TEXTS: Other sources We encountered through our selective interviews a number of organizations and individuals who were largely in favour of the cities urban restructuring plans and aspects of the ‘elevator’ plan. Individuals and groups that were in favour of the cities urban plans for la Barceloneta tended at the same time to have diverse opinions about various aspects of the plans. The neighbourhood business association The private business interests in the neighbourhood vary, from small business and restaurant owners who have lived in the area for generations, to larger chain grocers and retail shops, to even larger development corporations and real estate agencies who are interested in the potential of this area of the city soley for investment potential. The neighbourhood has a commercial association (ACIB) which is comprised of the business owners in the neighbourhood which are largely in favour of the cities urban plans. This association has much to gain from increased tourism which is controlled (meaning that if the competition is regulated they stand to benefit enormously from increased tourist traffic). In an interesting statement on their website, the commercial association praises the PP political party (Partido Popular) which is associated with the right on the political spectrum, for their support in re-declaring the neighborhood a ‘key’ commercial area of the city and the proposal to connect the front walkway of the neighbourhood with the luxury stores of the Port. Text El grupo municipal del PP en Barcelona volvió a reclamar en audiencia pública la declaración del barrio de la Barceloneta como nuevo eje comercial. Una propuesta que incluye la conexión del paseo de Joan de Borbó con la zona de compras y de ocio del Port Vell. Desde el distrito de Ciutat Vella se mostró la disposición a coordinar esfuerzos para dinamizar comercialmente la Barceloneta. Sin duda se trata de un barrio de una gran tradición comercial y de restauración, que merece contar con una marca propia de calidad, unánimemente se considera que es factible crear un eje comercial unificado al lado del mar y con diversos núcleos. Uno de ellos tendría como centro el nuevo mercado de la Barceloneta y el entorno de la plaza del Poeta Boscà. El objetivo es dinamizar el barrio para que se beneficien todos los vecinos y mejorar la imagen comercial poco diversificada de los últimos tiempos. A pesar de los diferentes cambios de titularidad en la regiduría del distrito de Ciutat Vella desde el ayuntamiento se han ofrecido todas las facilidades para trabajar sentando las bases de un eje comercial dinámico en la Barceloneta . -ACIB. The association goes on to encourage the district of the ‘Old City’ to work on connecting the commercial and restaurant areas in a coordinated plan including the new market and plaza. They state that the objective of all these plans is to benefit all the residents of the neighbourhood and improve the commercial image which has not been diversified enough in the past. They also praise the city government for providing all the facilities needed to make the neighbourhood a dynamic commercial area. The text can be read as in align with much of what the city government presented although it is clearly addressed in praise of the ‘right’ party instead of the socialist party (PSOC) which was in power at the time. One message is clearly that ‘what is good for business is good for the residents’. The business association expresses an official perspective. An individual very much in support of the commercial association expresses himself in a diverse and complex fashion. This individual has a long history of political involvement on the grass roots urban level including union involvement during the fight against Franco’s facist dictatorship which dominated Catalunya’s politics for over 35 years. He was the president of the national union for dockworkers and although some had serious conflicts with him over his politics, his opinions carry a lot of weight in neighbourhood politics. He expressed himself this way in relation to the urban politics which were occurring in la Barceloneta, his families home for generations. Text ‘Vivíamos en la calle. Todavía con Franco vivo pues han organizado algunos movimientos sindicales anti-Fascistas, en el pelea final. La Barceloneta fue un barrio olvidado en la ciudad, teníamos en la periferia. Solo una pequeño parte de la playa era libre. Los usuarios son gente rico, no del barrio. Había una barraca, un trocito de calle. Hacía mucho calor y en el verano bajaba los meses en la calle, no había coches (1970)...nos faltan de todo. Ahora empiezan el Ayuntamiento inviertan dinero, entendiendo que no nos marchan. Estoy a favor de la rehabilitación que esta planteando el Ayuntamiento. -J.G.Presidente club de Natacion. Barceloneta. The text speaks from the position of ‘ownership’ in the sense that it sees the neighborhood as its own, that it is a true resident, an insider in contrast to an outsider. This is a subject position which has fought for its right also to live and now to receive improvements after living in a neglected area of the city. It is in favour of the cities urban plan. Text … Era una favela enorme en toda esta zona. El barrio no hizo absolutamente nada cuando los tiraran. Estuvo de acuerdo que los tiran. Era un cambio deseado por el barrio, casi hicimos una fiesta. Cuando llamaran (los okupas) sobre el Somorrostro no saben absolutamente nada. El mar era sucio, era una salida directa, era un rió con todas los ‘quades’ de Barcelona. -J.G. Presidente Club de Natacion. La Barceoneta. In this statement, he is speaking about the period when the city government destroyed the improvised bars and clubs that had been called the Somorrostro which was situated at the end of the Beach area where la Barceloneta is. The city destroyed the buildings and removed all the living areas. He is commenting that those that lived in the occupied house in the neighbourhood glorified the Somorrostos, but in his opinion they don’t know what they are talking about, that it was a ‘dirty’ slum and home to ‘bad’ people. He again takes the subject position of the rightful resident whose values and lifestyle are correct, the one who knows the ‘truth’ about the history. He contrasts his position with the ‘squatters’ who were also evited in 2007 and the building carved into two pieces as they watched on the sidewalk. Text …El plan es para proteger el barrio….no hay una ley, viviendo en un libre mercado…El Plan de barrio es invertir por la primera vez, más de 15,000 milliones de euros al fondo. No se pueda permitir dejar pasar de esto…Lo que hemos hecho es algo normal. La asociación de vecinos (AAVB) quien que estar codo con codo con la Agrupació de Comerciantes porque son dos pilares del barrio. Definido porque tenemos los mismos intereses…Ellos (comerciantes) quieran que venga gente del barrio para sus negocios. Ellos son vecinos, muchos, por lo tanto quieran no hay ruido, hay limpieza, seguridad. Hay una relación estrecha entre AAVB y comerciantes. Por primera vez en la historia del barrio. J.G.Presidente Club de Natacion. La Barceoneta. In this statement the city plans are claimed as a ‘protective’ measure against what is stated as a given, ‘the free market’. He sees it also as a critical opportunity to receive money from the city to ‘finally’ make needed improvements. He declares that the business owners and the traditional neighbourhood association are the ‘two pillars’ of the neighbourhood and have the same interests , including the desire for controlled noise in the neighbourhood, security, cleanliness and plenty of consumers to visit the shops and commercial sites. This voice is claiming the rightful position of ‘spokesperson’ as the ‘true’ and ‘best’ perspective for all the residents of the neighbourhood. Text Esto es otro problema que tenemos aquí pero nadie dicen nada porque algunos vecinos están logrando este sistema, ¿Comprendes? Algunos (están) defendiendo en contra del Plan resuelta que unas viviendas alquilando con dinero negro. Vamos a hablar de todo, de la realidad.’ J.G.Presidente Club de Natacion. La Barceloneta. In this statement the speaker differentiates himself from the ‘other’ who again constellates in those who are doing legitimate business, who support the cities plan, and those who are doing illegitimate business and are against the plan. In a declaration of openness he suggests that all topics be open in the debate. Commentary This text is particularly interesting for a number of reasons. We can read it as an intersection of a number of converging social positions and historical shifts. It can be read as a history of the working class in Catalunya, fighting against an extremely repressive 30 year dictatorship in often impoverished and difficult conditions to rise to become the ‘rightful’ resident of a neighbourhood in which this person has fought for and lived since he was a child. It can also be read as the history of capitalism in Catalunya, from the heavy rural immigration in the 1950’s to an industrial urban society which has done well in relation to many areas of the country and more recently surged as a popular tourists area. Our reading focuses on urban subjectivity in terms of the past 30 years of urban restructuring, so one interesting aspect is the subject position being expressed in terms of urban governance. His subject position is one of ‘governance’, an individual who has a long history of involvement in politics from a working class background, using this ‘authority’ to produce the neighbourhood in a particular way which forwards the neighbourhood as a commercial area in which ‘rightful’ residents benefit from the successful business climate while preserving a lifestyle they have worked to create and preserve. In contrast to the city government which speaks from an outside position, this is an insider speaking. This voice is from one who claims the right to define who is outside and who is inside. It is a protectionist position for those who are insiders. It is a claim to legality and illegality, being determined by the ‘given’ market history we are in. It in a sense says ‘I’ am being subjected in good ways, and in ways that all residents should be subjected, and the city is the source that all the residents can use to both extract capital and to provide protection from being exploited from ‘outside’. As an insider speaking about ‘good regulation’ this voice speaks on a resident level in terms of governance, as a voice not only of authority, but of regulation and control forming a division of insider/outsider. In our discussion we will consider how these socially multilayered forms of hierarchies and divisions figure in to the formations of governance and regulation. In the next section we turn to the conflictual points where the text’s in favour of the cities urban ‘Plan’ meet with oppositional texts. We focus on these conflict points brought up by the oppositional texts to look at where the apparent ‘gaps’ are between the two and related these gaps in term of urban governance and power relations. PART TWO: OPPOSING TEXT AND ANTAGONISMS We will look now at texts from interviews of individuals, city officials, and experts who were largely in opposition to the cities urban plans. Our interest was in focusing on texts of resistance to consider if the texts surrounding the conflicts between the cities intervention and its oppositions can help us better understand how power relations themselves are being reproduced, and to what effect. In this way we are not attempting to understand individuals or group positions, but the manner in which the texts they produce represent discursive positions in which we might be able to reflect on how they produce relations of power. Resistance in this case illustration for us constituted of the texts produced in opposition to the cities urban ‘elevator plan’. Their was one association in particular that had formed in 2006 as a reaction against the interventions which the city was making coupled with the fact that they felt they were not represented fairly by the association that had existed in the neighbourhood for over 40 years. Then in 2008 another group formed which originated with support from a group that had occupied a house (squatted) for two years in the neighbourhood and had been involved in activism around housing, urbanization, and social issues in general. There was a tension that occasionally flared up between the neighbourhood association which had be active for over 40 years and the newer more critical associations. The more historical association was also critical of certain aspects of the urban plans of the city but tended to be more in favour of the changes. Many of the resistive texts we used came from the more critical association as they were addressed directly against both the cities particular urban plans as well as in terms of the right of the city to exercise their version of what the neighbourhood was and what it needed. This group was pushing for the residents to be able to have the power to decide what urban changes were needed and how they would be implemented. Their criticisms were constantly challenging both the urban plans of the city and the manner in which decisions were being made. They were directly challenging foundational aspects of the cities justifications for the changes they were claiming were necessary and the political process in which the city named as ‘participatory’. We felt that the criticisms they were making represented foundational aspects of the underlying conflicts occurring in many neighbourhoods in the city, namely the city’s claim to be improving the quality of life for the residents by their urban plans as well as protecting them from the dangers of ‘unplanned development’. The critique of the city is multi-level aimed at challenging the city’s claim to have the right to be in charge, make decisions, and define the political process in which urban restructuring itself takes place. The cities texts read as if its only interest is the desires of the residents, but our question after listening to the criticisms of the cities plans was related to whether the cities text was actually forwarding types of urban reform that, while making improvements in the neighbourhood in terms of services and buildings, were also creating fragmentation of the social relations in the neighbourhood and an increasing privatization the cityspace through reforms that advantage investors but left residents, especially those that the city had called ‘desfavorecidas’ at risk to reorder what their lives revolved around, their social networks. Opposing groups The alternative association , ‘l’Associació de Veins de l’Ostia’ which had begun two years earlier in the spring of 2003 was joined by a group which called itself ‘la Plataforma en Defensa Del Barrrio de la Barceloneta’ and along with some members from the occupied house, they have worked intensively together on many fronts to attempt to halt the cities ‘Elevator Plan’ and in general create a more collective and participatory urban politics where the residents have the power to direct and make decisions regarding the urban development of their neighbourhood. In this sense they represent an alternative logic to the dominant logic which is being forwarded by the city government. For five years they have been holding educational meetings, demonstrating, writing letter requesting meetings with city officials, and setting up local seminars either inviting various speakers or local officials to meet with residents. Some of these projects include: 1. The proposal of an ‘alternative urban plan’ for the neighbourhood. 2. A tour of the neighbourhood as part of the international seminar on urban social movments (KRAX, 2007). 3. A historic tour of the neighbourhood entitle ‘Geographia Esborrado’ in which the history of the urban building and activities was explained to participants. 4. Weekly leafleting at the market. 5. A series of street demonstrations depending on the particular issues deemed important at the time. The largest was a march of 200-300 residents and supporters from the neighbourhood to the city hall in which a main thoroughfare was blocked for over two hours. 6. An office designated to help individuals who are victims of illegal pressures from real estate owners or property owners in what is commonly referred to as ‘mobbing’. The office is a place to get information and receive consultation over what the resident’s legal rights are and how they may protect their interests. 7. A series of seminars such as ‘la Barceloneta’ Speaks and Decides on the 29, 30 of March, 2007 in which historians and technical experts presented information concerning the cities urban strategies and plans and how the residents might be able to defend and advocate for their collective interests. OPPOSITIONAL TEXT Introduction Text ‘Resumiendo: pisos carísimos, desahucios, apartamentos turísticos, violencia inmobiliaria. Éste es el precio del éxito. ¡Somos campeones de liga! Venga, somos los mejores. ¿Mejores en qué? ¿En tener el m2 más caro de BCN, la ciudad más cara de España? ¿Estás orgullosa de tan nefasto récord? ¿No quieres que sigan viviendo en el barrio tus vecinos o amistades por culpa de la especulación inmobiliaria?...Bien, los guiris no dejan dormir al vecino que se tiene que levantar a las seis para ir a trabajar a Estibarna -principal proveedora de empleo en La Barceloneta. Eso está bien, pero no veis la globalidad del problema. Si todo el barrio se llena de hoteles y apartamentos, ¿Qué hueco quedará para los vecinos/as? Si el propietario de una finca decide alquilar por días, semanas o un par de meses, a alquilar por cinco años (aunque luego no te renueve), ¿Qué barrio vamos a tener? Como dije anteriormente, a una ciudad dormitorio de vacaciones nos dirigimos. Por consiguiente, ¿qué pensará nuestro amigo guiri cuando venga a La Barceloneta buscando ambiente de pueblo -ése que tanto le gusta- y se encuentre que aquí únicamente viven compatriotas suyos?’ -Statement of resident of la Barceloneta In an open statement from one resident to the other residents the text summarizes many of the concerns shared and expressed in numerous texts by the association in opposition to the cities urban plans: very expensive prices for flats, DESAHUCIOS, tourist apartments, and real estate ‘violence’ (referring to speculative practices, mobbing, and other forms in which real estate agencies inflate and exploit renters and properties in a neighbourhood). In contrast to the jargon of the city that uses competitive metaphors to frame Barcelona as a ‘winning and successful city’, the speaker points to the negative aspects that are occurring under the cities urban types of planning including losing friends and loved ones who are ‘gentrified’ by what is arguably now some of the highest per meter squared prices in Barcelona, and the difficulty getting proper sleep due to having to wake up at ‘working hours’ in a neighbourhood where there is a high number of tourists who are making noise late at night in because they are there on vacation and ‘partying’. Then the text asks ‘what kind of space will there be for the residents in the neighbourhood if the number of hotels and tourist apartments increases?’ In a sarcastic tone a future scenario is presented as a joke; ‘what will happen when the tourists come to see the ‘historic fishing and working class’ neighbourhood of la Barceloneta and all they find is more tourists like them?’ Analysis Firstly, in contrast to the cities positive version, the text predicts a NEGATIVE future for the residents if urban development continues in its current direction. The contrast is striking between the cities version and the resident’s, one reports that the neighbourhood as ‘winning’ and the other ‘losing’. This gap points to discrepancies in texts which we will return to in our discussion as they potentially will lead to a clearer discussion of the complexity surrounding the conflicts occurring. The text is an appeal to solidarity and commonality between residents with an unspoken but clear message that ‘something’ needs to be done to avoid what is considered a negative future scenario. Also in contrast to the cities supportive text, the resident names particular forms of the private sector to blame for the potential negative consequences. It does not name the city government, leaving them invisibilized, but focuses on private interests particularly in the real estate market and tourist industry. The text speaks directly to the negative consequences for the residents of increased tourism and market inflation, then plays on their own subjectivity as a resident of a popular historical neighbourhood, or in other terms a type of cultural and tourist product. Thus the tourist and real estate industry are positioned as consumers of the resident’s community and cultural heritage. THEMATICS In this section we will focus on textual themes which present discrepancies between the city text and the opposing texts. We were interested in how these contrasts might be read to reflect back upon how urban power relations were operating in the neighbourhood. 1. Disparity in future narratives: Getting better/Getting worse… What we found initially looking into the texts surrounding the conflict with the city revealed dynamics and dimensions between the residents and the city government as well as the private system that do not appear at all in the story the city tells about the neighbourhood. In this sense ‘the story’ of the city is a fantasy, a fantasy of the city itself, history a smooth progression of western progress presented with only technical challenges to overcome, always possible in the western world . The undercurrent is the optimism and confidence that the direction that the urban world is developing is going well. This contrasts with the undercurrent of the texts of resistance: Text M: Cuales tu previsión sobre el barrio? E: ……vamos a desaparecer como barrió. Según un barrio turístico, no podemos pararla. M: ¿No pondrías salvar a proteger algo? E: No, porque los políticos no quieran. M: ¿No por la formación de vecinos, montar algo….? E: No, porque hay entidades comprados por ellos, manejados por ellos, con su gente de su partido. Estas entidades tienen locales con una estructura hecho muy bien y con dinero. -Interview text (2009). Member of l’Ostia, neighbourhood association. It is interesting to consider how this text from a resident is directly opposite in character to the optimistic texts of the city; it’s full of pessimism in regards to the possibility of maintaining a ‘culture’ and community that they have known. From the citytext the neighbourhood is progressing well, but from the text of the resident there is something important that will be lost due to the fact that other neighbourhood associations are aligned politically with certain political parties because they will benefit from the changes that the city wants . Analysis Is it possible that the cities agenda for the development of the neighbourhood will benefit some residents more than others? Could it be read as a cultural clash in the sense that form some groups there are certain qualities that will be lost that for other groups are less important? For our purposes what seems important to look at is how this disparity is played out in terms of real political decisions and decision making. The resident’s statement and pessimism is explained by economics and political alliances. It could be that these areas are ones in which political power merely moves forward and there is never a chance for open debate. It is also interesting to note that the city doesn’t speak for ‘itself’ but for the other, the residents. The residents then speak for themselves, but the complaint by the ‘opposing’ voice is that the cities agenda, interests in changing the neighbourhood are not ‘altruistic’, but actually full of self interest in the sense that economically the city generates huge amounts of capital from the changes that are taking place in the neighbourhood. Tourism is the biggest industry in Cataluña and one of the central economic foundations of the Spanish state. Yet the city speaks as if this is not a factor, as if they have no interests, and thus this issue is not part of the cities text, openly at least. We read this as the discrepancy in future narratives is indicative of the discrepancy in the potential positive and negative gains that different residents will receive from the cities plans in the way they were presented. If a great disparity exists I potential losses and gains from the cities plans then the different future narratives reflect the reality for both groups. What is missing from the political context and the text is the structure for these issues to be debated openly with an ‘independent’ mediator. The pessimism is not only about economics, it’s about a quality of life, so this issue revolves around the lack of ability to be able to preserve this quality. Yet the city claims it will be the agent to assist with this? One disparity leads to another, the residents who are in opposition to the cities plan have little faith that the city government in earnest has the will to provide them an opportunity to protect and support what they need and want. 2. MAKING HISTORY, RELATIONS AND SPACE… As we mentioned in the analysis of the cities historical text of the neighbourhood, the city describes the neighbourhood as a place of transformation which is either benign or a story of success both commercially and for the residents. This is in direct contrast to the opposing groups who see the recent history (since 1992) as a story of transforming la Barceloneta from a popular working class neighbourhood to a tourist and investment zone. As one form of protest, those opposing the cities urban Plan created a series of texts focused on the history of the neighbohood that they felt had been ‘erased’ in the cities popular renditions. They presented a tour of the neighbourhood in which they stopped at particular historical ‘sites’ to explain the story of the significance of these locations, focusing on the collective events that had occurred. Text La geografia esborrada, és un tour a través dels espais desapareguts del barri de la Barceloneta. Aquells que han estat emblemàtics, que han creat xarxes de solidaritat veïnals. És una projecte melancòlic, és un estat de turbulència i rebel.lió transitori, però no és una projecte purament regressiu i estancat en el passat. Vol saber sobre les seves arrels, vol llegir-les i sentir-les, vol explorar per reinventar, no pretèn idealitzar, vol obrir camins, portes….vol recordar, reimaginar…. Llegeix la història en diagonal, de principi a final, de final a principi, d’enmig cap amunt o cap avall. Cada espai que descobreix, és una nova font de circulació d’idees, formes i estructures que van connectant-se amb el reste de nuclis descoberts. http://greenpeppermagazine.org/geografiaesborrada/barceloneta.html The use of ‘erased geography’ as the name of a tour speaks to a journey to ‘rediscover’ histories and spaces that have been erased, by someone, for some reason. Its an expression suggesting that ‘someone unnamed’ has literally destroyed meaningful physical structures in the neighbourhood as well as selectively forwarded certain histories and left others out, effectively ‘erasing them’ from collective memory. They state that the most emblematic geographies have been ‘erased’, the ‘spaces’ which were used to create neighbourhood solidarity. One object in the text is the ‘project’, the ‘tour’ itself which is described as ‘melancholic’, in turbulence, rebellion, but not only a regressive project about the past. They state that they want to know these spaces, to ‘feel them’ to explore them so that they can ‘reinvent’ them. In contrast to idealize them, they want to open ways, ‘ports’, to remember, to re-imagine them. In a poetic fashion they mention that they ‘arrive to the history in a diagonal, forwards and backwards, each space is a discovery, a new front of circulation and ideas, forms and structures that connect with the rest of the nucleus’. The object they discuss is ‘history’ as a process rather than a fixed object, which directly challenges the linear and progressive metaphors of the city government. They make history interactive and fluid, thus opening the debate as to ‘who’s’ history is being told. The plain of time is thus shifted to plural rather than singular voice, and they are claiming one of the voices pointing to the rebellious and collective history of the neighbourhood. The implication is clear, that the version of history which they value by the way they tell it, is that collectivity and grass roots political manner in which spaces were created and used. Text Un grupo de vecinos del barrio pesquero ha creado un mapa y una audioguía de lugares emblemáticos que han desaparecido en la Barceloneta. Quieren mantener viva la memoria histórica de la zona y denunciar la evolución del barrio, que creen que favorece solamente a personas con mayor poder adquisitivo y a turistas. La audioguía la geografía borrada, de momento sólo disponible en catalán, se puede descargar por Internet (www.geografiaesborrada.net) y pronto tendrá versiones en castellano y en inglés - J. Albarrán Bugié . In a text written by an ‘observer’ announcing that the ‘tour’ is available on the internet to download, he …..(the map,..different than the tour). It is interesting to consider the history of the urban forms of a neighbourhood as a text which is productive, in its manner of interpretation of what kind of social world existed, and what has replaced it. In 2008 the residents of the occupied house and the association they had worked with as part of a larger program called, ‘la Barceloneta Speaks and Decides’ held a tour of the neighbourhood showing the locations in which various activities and buildings had been in the past. This tour gave the participants a perspective on urban history, underlining that particular qualities of the neighborhood had been erased literarily in terms of the destruction of old buildings, or in terms of there absence in historical literature or city text. A map and a CD were produced and handed out to participants. The conflicts between groups in the neighbourhood were also common and the question was raised as to why the city representative thinks this was happening: Text Because it’s a precarious context, for many years nothing has happened and now they have gotten the funds, a neighbourhood in which the citizens now have the funds. It always happens when you abandon a zone that’s near the centre of the city, it’s then easy to transform it. It’s a process that always happens. The investments, both public and private influence these neighbourhoods that are neglected because they are cheaper to transform. The part of the city abandoned is the best site in the world for the government to intervene but also it’s the best site for the market also, the conflict is when the residents have the sensation that the market and the government are together. That’s what happened here. -Regidora de Cuitat Vella ( 2008) But the opposing party has a very different story about the conflict between associations; this representative comments about whether the city government has tried to have common meetings in which the problems between the associations can be discussed: Text E: No. Estamos esperando pendiente cosas que ….conjuntamente. Pero nunca ha pasado, porque no somos capaz a hacerlo, es depende de ella (the city representative, ie,’regidora’). Personalmente no tengo nada contra de ellos (the other association), creo que ellos sienten lo mismo. Pero al Ayuntamiento no hacen, (proyectos en común). Hay pisos turísticos, ¿quien tiene la culpa?, al Ayuntamiento. Porqué, porque ser humanos, egoístas, ….si yo puedo alquilar un piso a mil euros, no voy a cobrar a quinientos si vas a cobrar un mil. Quien tiene la culpa, al Ayuntamiento porque no poniendo una norma, las asociaciones dicen que estamos haciendo por nuestras mismas. -activista en oposición del Plan. 3. PUBLIC SPACE I. ‘La Plaza’ The issue of urban public space is a highly contested and polemic area of urban politics. The recent planning for la Barceloneta has included the renovation of the central plaza. The plaza is three city blocks in size and essentially has been an open cement space with the market taking up perhaps one sixth of the space. Text Se considera el espacio público como marco que facilita la relación social y la integración de las personas del barrio, y con un importante efecto dinamizador sobre la vida de vecinos y vecinas. Mejorar el espacio público tiene un efecto multiplicador sobre la inversión privada, tanto en relación con los inmuebles como con las actividades comerciales y profesionales. En la Barceloneta, la calle a menudo se ha convertido en casa, espacio de convivencia y de encuentro, lo que da entidad y singularidad al barrio. No se puede perder esta particularidad y se debe potenciar el espacio público para que siga ejerciendo esta función aglutinadora de los vecinos y vecinas. Con el Plan de Barrios mejorarán las plazas, el Parque, las calles y la conexión del barrio con el mar. - El Plan de Barrios de la Barcelonesa. City of Barcelona. http://www.barcelonetapladebarris.cat/projecte_intervencio.php Public space is presented in this text as the ‘place’ which facilitates social cohesion and improves community relations. Improving public spaces also increases private real estate investment along with commercial and professional activity. With no apparent ‘conflict of interest’ the private sector is mentioned as a benefit to the neighbourhood. The streets in la Barceloneta historically at times have converted into the ‘house’ for the residents and the city will not forget that this is an important part of the identity of the neighbourhood. The city will work to create public spaces to enhance this characteristic which creates close and strong social relations. The Plan will improve the plazas, parks, streets, and the connection between the neighbourhood and the sea. Analysis ‘Public space’ is a polemic term often with connotations of the places where residents gather and relate ‘freely’. The city in this text is the rightful body to design, build, and manage the largest ‘public space’ in the neighbourhood. This is to be taken as a given. There is not rational given as to why the city government of Barcelona should be the sole party who has exclusive rights to public space. In a sense the word ‘public’ becomes interpreted as under control of the ‘city’ while the rhetoric implies that somehow social open space in the city is the residents space. What this reads at is that the city is the power which makes both the physical and social characteristics of ‘public’ space and the resident is the ‘user’, the subject which then uses the space according to the cities norms. With total control over all aspects, the residents are reduced to passive subjects who are supposed to appreciate and trust the city officials and technical experts. This type of obedience means the options for the resident are to express an opinion at what they call a ‘public meeting’ in which they are given a response by city officials, or they can make a formal complaint. There is no collective form of bargaining or decision making power that the residents have. To enforce the ‘norms’ of ‘public space’ in the city (as we have discussed) the city passed a new ‘civic ordinance’. In this text the city takes the historical fact that the neighbours had to ‘live’ in the streets due to cramped and inadequate living conditions and claims to not only understand what qualities of social relations are most important to the residents, but that it will create public areas to support and preserve these characteristics . In this way the citytext reads as a kind of ‘parental’ subject, one that is in total control over the space (in this case: public space) and is declaring that it will do what is in the residents best interest, and that it will preserve the quality of relationships which historically have been most important to the residents. In the above text there is also no mention of the conflict of interest between ‘public’ and ‘private’ agendas and no difference identified between small local business and large real estate, hotel or investor interests. The private system and the public system are seen as compatible and both part of the improvements for the residents. Public space as political space? With no mention of conflicting interests of the agents who are impacting urban development in the area, the text produces ‘clean space’, space which is void of difference, a homogenous space in which the citytext produces its version of reality, reproducing itself as the rightful owner, manager and regulator. What happens to the political conflicts, differences and interest between residents, private interests? They are put into the margins in this text and thus have ‘no public space’ in which to speak, meet, or be political agents. The fact that the citytext would choose to speak of the restructuring of public space only in positive social terms such as integration and socializing is even more notable given the controversy and conflict which was obvious to anyone familiar with the social context. This produces the subjectivity of the city as not only a body wanting total social control of public space, but also a subject which projects or believes in a reality that is very different from the reality in which most of the residents describe . As we will see when we look at the opposing critiques of the manner in which the public space was renovated, the citytext ‘crashes into the opposing texts, seeming to appear almost to be speaking of different areas of the city altogether. Yet in terms of power relations, we read the text of the city in terms of multiple levels which are being produced; one being the actual build changes the text is suggesting, another being the ‘relationship’ which is being (re)produced in the manner in which the subjectivities are positioned and defined among the residents, the city and the ‘invisible’ private sector. In the citytext it appears that political discussions have only two places, in the margins/invisible or under the control and management of the city itself What is and isn’t ‘public space’ The expression of public space overlaps with discourses surrounding private property, socialism, democracy, progress, the city itself and the State, all of which are embedded within reference to history (time), space (dimensions of distance, ownership, responsibility) and place. In looking at citytext and its productivity we need to consider these discourses and their historical usages. The conceptualization and ordering of ‘public space’ should be properly placed in its historical and geopolitical context. To see what is being produced in the citytext it is also helpful to consider other ways of thinking of ‘spaces outside of privately owned homes’. On a fairly practical level for example, there was no consideration by the city to have a meeting hall for the residents or a place for political discussion, or a place for children to play. On a broader level, we can imagine public space being an opportunity for collective consideration of use of resources, what is shared and private, time, distance and responsibility. What if the plaza was a continual place of public transformation, where collectively each neighbourhood had an ongoing process in which they directed (with perhaps the assistance of ‘tax payer’ funds) to create together what they decided they needed at the time; a memorial, a place for futbol league, a versatile concert hall, a public swimming pool, etc? II. The new market: for all or for the few? -The mayor of Barcelona visits the new market in la Barceloneta (2006) Text El mercado de la Barceloneta se inauguró en 1884 y lo diseñó el arquitecto Antoni Rovira i Trias. Desde sus inicios, siempre ha tenido un carácter marinero y pescador, plenamente identificado con el barrio. Hay que destacar la larga tradición del mercado en el barrio y la historia de la Barceloneta, un barrio que surgió con la llegada de los vecinos del barrio de la Ribera que después de 1714 fueron echados de sus casas y se integraron en este nuevo barrio. -bcn.es The city built a new market in the central plaza area, proud of it’s accomplishments, it transformed the old market into a ‘state of the art’ site (designed by a cosmopolitan Italian architect) which they felt would be attractive to the residents as well as ‘good for business’. The text above suggests that the city understands the historical character of the neighbourhood and presents the new market as in keeping with that tradition . Text El nuevo mercado está llamado a convertirse en un potente referente comercial, arquitectónico y gastronómico. El proyecto, del arquitecto Josep Miàs, mano derecha del desaparecido Enric Miralles, ha preservado la estructura original del edificio, que data de 1884 y es obra de Antoni Rovira i Trias. El mercado dispone de dos restaurantes de alto nivel y será el primero en toda Europa en disponer de un cocinero premiado por la Guía Michelin. De hecho, uno de los restaurantes del mercado lo dirigirá el cocinero Àngel Pasqual, que tiene una estrella Michelin y es propietario del Restaurante Lluçanès, junto con Francesc Miralles, responsable del Racó d'en Canela . La continuidad del modelo de colaboración entre la iniciativa pública y la privada supuso la decisión de dar continuidad a la fórmula de la sociedad mixta municipal Promoció de Ciutat Vella, que había operado en el núcleo histórico de Barcelona desde 1988, con resultados visuales y estructurales bien tangibles, en la sociedad de economía mixta Foment de Ciutat Vella, constituida en la Junta General del 18 de diciembre de 2000. A partir de esa fecha, la sociedad empezó a ser operativa . Again, increasing private investments is presented as totally compatible with the resident’s interests with no ‘problematic’ effects to consider. The continuation (since 1988 which coincides with the urban restructuring to prepare for the Olympic games) of a ‘formula’ called the ‘mixed society’ and the ‘mixed economy’ is being declared as a success and the proven best way for urban development. The market is promoted as a commercial, architectural and culinary reference point for the city. Preserving the historical structure, the new market boosts a Michelin cook. The ‘gap’ that appears in this text relates to the fact that although the city mentions that the private and public interests work together for the benefit of all, the residents typically are not upper-class and thus are less likely to be interested in the prices of a restaurant with a ‘Michelin’ cook. Private investment in this case is seen as beneficial to the residents and a ‘win-win’ relationship. The city supports the social life of the residents and in fact will improve public space to enhance this function. In addition the city will improve the relationship of the neighbourhood with the sea. Opposing text Residents of one association felt that the market was designed for tourists and the new foreign residents as it has two luxury restaurants and café along with higher prices and more limited access for small scale vendors. El pasado mes de marzo se inauguró el nuevo mercado de la Barceloneta. Parece como si la inauguración del nuevo mercado diese el pistoletazo de salida a la incorporación definitiva de la Barceloneta en el mercado de la Barcelona cool, la Barcelona que obliga a sus vecinas a resultar económicamente rentables. Así pues, esta inauguración no fue un festejo. A ella acuedieron por un lado J. Hereu, C. Martí, J. Portabella, diferentes representantes del Ayto., y la AAVV oficial. Por el otro los vecinos y vecinas que sabemos que la Barceloneta y sus vecinos humildes no hemos sido suficientemente rentable económicamente hasta ahora, y no lo seremos si no hay una sustitución de la población -en este caso, como en muchos otros barrios- propiciada por una remodelación urbanística que haga el barrio más apetecible a los turistas, o a inmobiliarias y todo aquel que pertenezca al entramado político-financiero que hace de esta ciudad un diseño para una portada de revista, pero no para sus habitantes. Vecinos y vecinas representamos en la entrada del mercado una comitiva fúnebre, la “mort de la Barceloneta”; aquello que se anuncia entre líneas en el diseño de la joya arquitectónica de Josep Mias -el nuevo mercado- y su restaurante de una estrella michelín, propiedad del sr. Gaspar (gran equipamiento para este barrio pescador) y que se anuncia a gritos con el “plan de los ascensores”. La muerte de la Barceloneta (en la) que vivimos. Así pues, los políticos fueron recibidos entre abucheos de los vecinos que nos hemos visto ninguneados por la arrogancia de Hereu y el cinismo de C. Martí y palmaditas en la espalda por los arribistas que buscan aumentar su pequeña cuota de poder . -La Barceloneta. (2007) The text is written with a frustrated tone, speaking about the new market as part of the larger city plan to make Barcelona a ‘cool’ city for tourists in particular. It speaks of the residents as the targets of a city strategy which makes their neighbourhood ‘rentable’ to investors. It then discusses the inauguration of the market as a conflictual event in which the city came prepared to celebrate with the mayor, the mayors assistant and members of the established neighbourhood association who were generally in favour of the style of the market and the opposing groups who staged a ‘funeral’ for la Barceloneta and demonstrated following the mayor through his tour of the market. The scenario is described as a kind of theatre in which the mayor attempted to hold a celebration and at least a percentage of the residents attempted to express their anger by disrupting it and symbolically (re)signify what is happening in the neighbourhood as a kind of death. The metaphor used in this text is of the neighbourhood being ‘sold’ by the city to business and special party interests. Analysis What the market isn’t The text promotes the cities model of markets that you can see in many of its neighbourhoods. It’s not difficult to imagine what is not mentioned in the citytext; all the possible ways in which a market could be designed for multiple community use, run by the residents with programs to bring in youth into the workforce and create a social meeting space for the residents in which you could hole concerts and events. This is not to be utopic, but to mention is marginalized outside the ‘enthusiasm’ of the citytext for its version of good urban restructuring. A city reference point is different than a community market (or a community garden) in which there is collective ownership, dividends are put back into the community and decisions are made by residents. Collective ownership of public space is never mentioned or considered as an option in any of the urban texts of the city. The city is promoting private capitalist development as the best alternative for the residents themselves. Without ever mentioning an alternative, the city works to pass this alternative as the best and perhaps ‘only’ way public space could be considered. 4. TOURISM: ‘The City or the Citizen who never sleeps?’ Many of the criticisms of the urban Plan for la Barceloneta suggest that the Plan continues and accelerates the transformation of the neighbourhood into a tourist zone, where the neighbourhood is being developed to maximize the tourism business and needs. The city does not deny that la Barceloneta is a prime site to be developed for tourism, but it claims that this can be done in balance with the needs of the residents. The opposing voices have not had this experience or balance and are not convinced that the city will do anything substantially slow the rapid transformation of the neighbourhood into a tourist zone. The complaints are numerous and are easy to imagine even if you don’t live in a tourist zone; 1. Tourist apartments. Property owners rent their flats to tourists for one to thirty days or more. A certain percentage of tourists that come, largely from northern Europe, tend to come to ‘party’, staying up late at night often on porches talking and/or with music. 2. Tourists that come that don’t stay in the neighbourhood come to eat at the restaurants and stroll the beaches. They spend money and some come late at night and go to the bars. In the streets they will at times sit and drink, urinate against the walls or wander talking. Loud voices on the narrow streets can be heard for blocks. 3. The neighbourhood becomes full of strangers in the summer, often the males parading around with no shirts or just filling the streets with foot or car traffic. The beaches at night are popular party zones even for the local young people with la Barceloneta the convenient neighbourhood to walk through at 5 in the morning on their way home. Text ‘Ya se está terminando en verano 2008 y los vecinos de La Baceloneta –una mayoría- hemos estado soportando a los turistas que alquilan pisos para pasar sus vacaciones. Y, una vez más, nos hemos dado cuenta de que lo único que interesa es ganar dinero rápido y sin esfuerzo. Y sin tener que declarar a hacienda, a costa de los vecinos que vivimos en estos bloques de pisos a los que se nos niega nuestro derecho al descanso y a la dignidad. También hemos comprobado como, de nuevo, el Ayuntamiento mira hacia otro lado y sigue con su discurso de que todos los ciudadanos tenemos derecho al descanso, al mismo tiempo que promociona campañas con “visc a Barcelona, una ciutat que mai dorm”. -Resident of la Barceloneta. In this text the complaint is from the voice of a resident to their fellow residents who are again tolerating tourists who are in the neighbourhood renting their flats for their vacations. Once more they realize that all the property owners are interested in is making ‘fast’ money with the least amount of effort without having to declaring it a tourist rental, the price is paid by those who live in the vicinity that they deny their right to rest and respect. Again, these neighbours are bought, anew, the city government looks the other way and continues with their ‘discourse’ that ‘all’ citizens have the right to rest in their homes at the same time that they promote, with campaigns like ‘live Barcelona, the city that never sleeps’. The text picks up the text of the city and points directly to a contradiction; that the city government promotes the city as a ‘party town’ to tourist business while promising that its priorities are the resident’s quality of life and their rights to a peaceful orderly neighbourhood. It also speaks in the past tense stating that ‘we are bought’, implying that the city has ‘sold’ the neighbourhood ‘again’ to the private sector. It is an accusation directly at the city government, that they prioritize allowing the private sector to develop tourist markets over protecting the rights of the citizens to a ‘restful and dignified life’. Analysis The contradiction addressed in the text is a kind of crack in ‘logic’ and a place where power relations and the tension between different interests can be found. The opposing text ‘feels’ and experiences their lives change and look at what they see; tourists making noise at night as they wander in the streets at all hours when the bars close, peeing in the streets, and then leaving without ever having to relate to those they are effecting. They see the prices of the tourist flats and imagine that the owners (who may be a development corporation or someone who doesn’t live in the neighbourhood) are making lots of money while they never have to deal with the ‘reality’ of what they create. They see their tax money, the millions of euro’s the city spends encouraging tourists to come to Barcelona and particularly to la Barceloneta, and the joyous faces on the brochures saying ‘live Barcelona, the city that never sleeps’. They see the cities urban plan for their area to put elevators in the buildings, and to spend money making the public spaces look ‘cosmopolitan’ and attractive to tourists, and the private/public agreement to put a 5 star luxury hotel up at the end of the neighbourhood with beginning prices for one night listed at 290 euros. Then they see the public declarations by the city and the cities response to their concerns met with the statement ‘our priority is the maintenance of the quality of life and the communities that live in the cities neighbourhood. This is where they see the ‘crack’, and push. The push is to ‘unfold’ the contradiction. The debates surrounding this line of critique are potentially rich and challenging to the city because they have the potential to lead to a serious evaluation and need to account for not only their policies but potentially their right to be in charge and only permit ‘reactions’ and opinions from the residents. The opposing voices will tell you that these debates are never allowed in urban political contexts, the residents don’t have the right to demand control over their urban development and as we shall examine, have very regulated political spaces to even ‘raise’ the issue. In this sense in our critical search for how urban power relations (re)produce themselves also look to the textual ‘cracks’ and try to open them to see where they lead. Text La contabilidad no engaña: un mismo piso de unos 30 m2 en el barrio de la Barceloneta genera entre 400 y 800 euros al mes con un alquiler convencional, pero reporta de 1.800 a 3.000 euros si se alquila a turistas. El negocio está llevando a muchos propietarios a no renovar los contratos de sus inquilinos para sacar al mercado sus apartamentos de alquiler por días. Los vecinos denuncian que el barrio se está convirtiendo en un "hotel gigante" a costa de expulsar a sus residentes. Además, este uso turístico está generando graves problemas de convivencia ya que en muchos casos los turistas se sienten libres para realizar fiestas y juergas que en un hotel no les serían permitidas The facts don’t lie the text begins, and compares how inflated prices are when you make your flat a rental, you can charge double or triple the price. The market for tourist flats causes property owners to not renew their rental contracts and instead turn their properties into tourist rental flats. The neighbours are filing complaints that their area is turning into a giant hotel and forcing residents to leave. The tourist are causing serious problems in the quality of life of the residents as they feel free to have parties and act in a way that wouldn’t be permitted in a ‘hotel’ There are also conflicts which have arisen between neighbourhood associations as to how to deal with tourists when they act in ways that the residents feel violates their dignity and ability to ‘rest’. At one point one of the business association proposed the idea of a neighbourhood citizen ‘police’ vigilance group to monitor the neighbourhood and deal with those that they determined where being ‘non-civic’. An activist in opposition to the Plan was against the plan by the business group. Text Hace poco, este verano. Sale en la noticia que los Comerciantes junto con la Asociación de los Vecinos de la Barceloneta se quejan que en el barrio son mochileros, turistas con mochilas que hacen sus necesidades, que asustaran la gente, si el ayuntamiento no lo soluciona nada ellos van a montar los vecinos. Me llamaron los periódicos y me preguntaron que opinas sobre los patrullas vecinales?’ Bueno, para mi es racismo….se enfadaron muchísimo (los comerciantes a mi),……os dijo que el Ayuntamiento tiene que solucionar esto. Frequently there is a great difference between the cities version of how urban life is developing and residents who tell a story of conflict, in contrast to a story of progress and opportunity. This text is the voice of a resident (president of the association most in opposition to the cities Elevator Plan) is stating her opposition to two associations in the neighbourhood who have been discussing forming ‘neighbourhood patrols’ made up of residents who want to regulate the behaviour of certain people in the neighbourhood; backpackers who sleep on the streets, tourists who urinate in the street, and in general people who tend to frighten the residents. The resident reports that this groups feels that the city government does not do anything to resolve these problems, so they will. When called by the newspapers to comment this resident stated that she thought the idea was ‘racist’ and then the two associations became very angry with the residents comment. The resident told the associations that the city government needs to solve the problem. The text again addresses the issue of tourism; it is a text which claims that the city government is not successfully regulating the neighbourhood by controlling certain ‘undesirable’ behaviours so several groups will take on the task them selves. The voice of the text claims that this is ‘racist’ implying that the groups will be targeting people by race and that it is better to pressure the city government to ‘do its job’. It brings us back to the issue of regulating behaviour in the city and interestingly addresses it partly toward tourist behaviour. This text also switches roles a bit; the groups usually aligned with the city government and more in favour of the cities plans consider taking the role of the regulators due to the cities inability to do so. It mirrors the situation where frustrated residents consider taking their own steps to manage and express their needs when they feel the city has failed in what they would expect them to do. Yet the same strategy is being applied which the text points to in its comment about ‘racism’, that the resident associations consider ways to ‘threaten’ and punish those who break the desired norms of this group rather than consider ‘including’ these people and behaviour as a part of the community. Outside the text What we can imagine outside the text is a social discussion by all residents considering what ‘tourism’, urinating, and homelessness is in their area and what are potent options they could consider to get what they need. It is worth noting that Barcelona, a city in which tourism is the biggest industry has almost no public toilet facilities. The business are only interested in their customers who use their bathrooms, but when you are walking across the city or have brought your own drinks with you to sit in the park, you are left with little option but to urinate in the street, you are then the ‘cities’ problem as you did not pay to have toilet facilities. The two associations contemplating threatening those who also aren’t ‘paying customers’ support the increasing privatization of cityspace, only for those who ‘pay’. In terms of tourism it is interesting, as noted, that tourists tend to not be a part of civic laws, they tend to be seen by the city as ‘income’ generating, thus not to ‘be disturbed’. This double standard is informal, not stated by the city but common knowledge to anyone who observes how the police regulate areas of the city. Tourist hotels: The Hotel Vella In 2005 the city government approved plans for a 5 star luxury hotel to be built on the spit at the end of the neighbourhood changing the skyline and bringing creating a large influx of tourists, workers and traffic that has to pass along side or through the neighbourhood. Opposing associations and residents complained there was little or no public hearing or citizen involvement in the decision. In this text, written by a professor of architecture at the University of Barcelona, he relates the hotel Vela with the general cities urban plans, plans he feels are mainly set up for tourist investment. Text … “tal mamotreto, fuera de escala y de contexto, chupando de las infraestructuras, aprovechándose de los desagües y colapsando los accesos del barrio, es un nefasto símbolo de la Barcelona neoliberal, vendida a la industria turística y a los intereses inmobiliarios.” Y el problema es que el Hotel Vela no viene solo, trae compañía, y de las malas. No me refiero con ello (o no sólo) a la protección que recibe por parte del Puerto, que ha plasmado en ese edificio sus intereses económicos y mostrado qué precio tiene que pagar La Barceloneta por la dependencia económica y laboral de sus habitantes con respecto a los dominios de la Autoridad Portuaria*. Sino que me refiero a la mamá especulación, que ha dado a luz en el barrio al ya conocido “plan de los ascensores”, al que seguramente la llei de barris hará de cordón umbilical. Esta llei de barris, que, como se ha visto en su proceso de elaboración, promueve una participación vecinal de contenedor, incluye muchas actuaciones. Algunas de ellas, tienen el absurdo objetivo de generar y fortalecer lazos sociales en un barrio en el que aun “todo” el mundo se conoce y que ha tenido (y tiene) redes de solidaridad muy amplias y fuerte; sin embargo, más allá de que el Ayuntamiento tenga que ir al barrio a aleccionar sobre algo que lleva décadas haciéndose y gastar dinero público para ello, esto no tiene por qué ser peligroso. Pero sí que lo pueden ser (y lo serán) las actuaciones que tienen que ver con la “mejora” del espacio público y edificios. ¿Qué especulador no sueña con invertir en un barrio, en el que el Ayuntamiento le arregla las calles y se las pone bonitas, el puerto le coloca un hotel de lujo a pocos metros y la Generalitat y el Ayuntamiento le brindan la posibilidad de echar a los vecinos de renta antigua de manera legal con una herramienta tan inamovible como un plan urbanístico (o una MPGM)? -J. M. Montaner[1] sobre el Hotel Vela Obviously a strong critique of the cities decision to permit a 5 star hotel to be placed at the end of the beachfront at la Barceloneta, this text covers a number of topics and relates them to a more general critique of what he refers to as ‘neoliberal Barcelona’. He is pointing his critique at the city government, the Cataluña regional government and those that make political and economic decisions for the Port of Barcelona. He particularly addresses and ‘produces’, in terms of text, a systemic analysis, stating that the ‘Elevator Plan’ is aimed at a type of political process (participación vencinal) which effectively works through stating that their goal is to ‘improve’ the neighbourhood, is actually preparing it for real estate and tourist investment while making it impossible for traditional long term subsidized renters (mostly elderly) to continue living there. Analysis As a ‘systemic’ type of critique the text makes claims to relationships between events and text, that the justifications for the urban plans are false and that the construction of the Hotel Vela is part of a systemic plan to restructure the neighbourhood into an investment attraction. In this sense it puts ‘objects’ together in relationship that are not connected in the cities text, that the hotel vela, the ‘participation plan’, the modifications of the streets and buildings are part of a coherent larger scale urban transformation. On another level then, an object of this critical text is found in the concept of ‘neoliberal’ as implying a system of order of coherence which challenges the cities identification (subjectivity) as an institution whose primary interest is public welfare. The city presents the events; the market, the plaza, the civic law, the ‘elevator plan’ as all separate modifications to improve the life of the residents. The citytext then speaks of the private sector as a social force which can be utilized to also work for the improvement of the life of the residents. The critical text in a sense refutes all of the cities claims and directly attacks the ‘participation plan’ as a strategy to co-opt the existing strong community politic to ‘contain’ it into certain acts which in effect nullify their grass roots power. What is interesting to consider when we look at the political process is that the conflict between whose interests are being promoted can not be debated at the city level or the private level, there is no forum and as we shall see in an interview with a city official, the challenge that the cities urban Plan is actually part of a larger systemic move to transform the neighbourhood into a tourist zone is not considered by the city to be a legitimate topic for public debate. The private system is not obligated to respond to this criticism, and the city and the private system are never together in a public forum for the residents to address. In a sense then an interesting dynamic and subjectivity appears as the ‘residents’. In the cities version the residents are a passive body that deserve their idea of ‘improvements’, or (as we shall discuss) they are given very particular ways to ‘participate’. The critique of Dr. Montaner is exactly pointed at the cities ‘participation Plan’ which he states is a strategy to nullify what he considers the more fundamental debate; within whose interests is the cities Plan. If this issue can not be debated because the city won’t allow it to occur, then a fundamental crack appears. We will consider how the political process was set up by the city and whether the critiques and opposition to the Plan represent points of conflict which the city to a large extent negates and will not allow to be one of the ‘possible conditions’ of social debate. Activists from la Barceloneta and from Barcelona organized a sardine roast and a day of activities in protest over the opening of the Hotel Vela. They built rafts and floated, some naked to the rocks below the Hotel and held up a block of letters stating that the Hotel Vela should be bombed. They invented a song and made a youtube video entitled ‘Bomba la hotel Vela’ which pointed to the private real estate multinationals which had made agreements with the city to forward the project. Bomba la Hotel Vella ‘Y viene el puerto a construir Un hotel que se merece una bomba Booooommmmba El hotel vela se merece una bomba …suavecito para Comsa, Comsa, Comsa …suavecito pá Sacyr, Sacyr, Sacyr Se lo dicen lo OHL, OHL, OHL Y ya tienen una UTE, UTE, UTE..’ Analysis The text in the song points to an object (the hotel) which ‘deserves a bomb’ which in contemporary terms brings images of ‘terrorism’ and then goes on to identify the private sector corporations who built and funded the hotel along with the ‘temporary’ union organization whose employees worked on the project. The metaphor of a ‘bomb’ is also a message of ‘war’ and suggests that this project was an intervention in the war. The symbolic effect of having a towering 5 star hotel at the end of the whole beachfront to the city out to its outskirts can be read as a declaration of priority and an exercise of power and domination. There was no vote, no public debate, and the project followed the new style public/private corporation I which the city drives the project through all the legal, economic, and political hoops needed to make it work. It was a city project as much as a private one. One can ask, why a bomb? Does resistance speak in terms of violence when clearly the opinions it holds, and the demands for rights is totally ignored? We can consider these readings as potentially useful in the search for the limits and the opening of possibilities in terms of ‘ways of thinking’ and ways of doing urban politics. 5. ‘BETTER LIVING’ THROUGH GENTRIFICATION Habría que hacer un estudio sociológico para saber qué tipo de personas viven en él. Yo diría hay dos tipos: a. personas mayores que aunque sean propietarios no son ricas, b. Son propietarios que están hipotecadas. También no tiene el dinero a pagar por las reformas. ‘Ahí es donde hay un riesgo importante para que entren las inmobiliarias y que les puedan aparecer atractivas, porque ¿qué se paga por un Quart de casa 200,000 euros pues le pagamos 270,000 y así se evitan tener que pasar por esto y usted se va al pueblo. Ahí es el riesgo. Aquí nuestro énfasis en decir que sea el Ayuntamiento del que compre y puede hacer operaciones’. E.F. FAVB 2007. Speculation is when a property owner plays the market by closing a building and letting it sit while it gains value. The neighbors of la Barceloneta use the expression a lot when discussing what they feel is happening in the housing market. The high cost of housing is one of the biggest complaints in Barcelona and is a central complaint among many of the urban social movements in the city . In la Barceloneta as in others in Barcelona, during the 1950’s residents, as part of the Welfare State, were given indefinite contracts at low rental prices to give them the security of having a permanent residence. Rather than own their apartments, it was common for residents to ‘rent for life’. One could say that in this sense there was a system which attempted to make space secure in some sense. The concept of a welfare state which had origins before, but came to fruition after WWII, meant living spaces were protected by the State, that housing and welfare were matters of the State and residents identified the State within this role. La Barceloneta has gone from a largely subsidized rental area known for its ‘quarts de casa’ (which means apartments which have been divided into four and now are only 30 metres square-thus ‘quarters’) to an area with some of the highest priced apartments in the city . As the area has increased in land value and potentials for profit extraction an intense scramble for property has occurred. The populations which are at risk for being excluded and eventually gentrified are the poorer residents, pensioners on fixed salaries, and the youth. Housing price increases in central city areas automatically produce gentrification of these populations and were exacerbated by several key factors. One of these practices is ‘speculation’ and due to the lack of regulation, property developers have come into the neighbourhood, bought buildings, and then boarded and bricked them up for years waiting for prices to rise before selling them. Secondly, what is referred to as ‘mobbing’ where property owners who want to recover rental properties (often from residents with long term low rent subsidized contracts) to remodel them and take advantage of the housing market find ways to get their long terms residents out through lack of maintenance so that the conditions of the flat eventually are unliveable. The following texts are narrative in nature, stories of residents who have experienced ‘mobbing’ and ‘speculation’. They are consistent textually; the property owners are unregulated and work the markets to maximize profit which means moving out low paying long term renters, a good percentage of the longer term older residents of la Barceloneta and their families. Text ‘…Tenemos mobbing in muchas mañeras: jóvenes, mayores que no llegan al fin de mes. Tienen que pedir, mayores, el piso esta en ruines, los archirectos sin fronteras esta intentando a ayudarlos. El Ayuntamiento esta protegiendo un poco. Estamos aquí. Ejemplo de una vecina que ellos llamaron el ayuntamiento para denunciar lo que estaba pasando. El regidora nos ha dejado un número de contacto que es el Mónica esta. De dos meses y casi nunca hemos visto. -Activist en contra del Plan. (2009) Text Los agujeros y las humedades hacen aún más frío el edificio en el que vive Anita Huguet, de 78 años. Es un caserón centenario de la Barceloneta, que en su día fue barrio proletario y que hoy es muy suculento para el nuevo urbanismo de Barcelona. Apenas resiste en pie la casona, pero tiene una ventaja: mira al mar. Hija de pescadores, Anita ha vivido siempre cerca del Mediterráneo. Su marido sólo le saca un año, pero está postrado en una cama. Pagan 88 euros cada cuatro meses por un piso de 30 metros cuadrados. Es un alquiler de renta antigua: tienen derecho a vivir ahí toda su vida. De hecho, Anita y el marido son los únicos vecinos que resisten en el edificio. “El dueño no puede echarnos legalmente, así que simplemente espera a que las paredes del edificio se caigan, aunque sea con nosotros dentro”, dice Anita. La expresión mobbing inmobiliario no está en el léxico coloquial de la zona, pero sí la palabra resignación: Anita Huguet tiene avisados a los vecinos por si, llegado el derrumbe, no pudiera contarlo. Lo peor para Anita no es la ruleta rusa a la que se ve obligada a jugar, sino las condiciones de vida: “No tenemos agua caliente para lavarnos. A mi marido le caliento el agua y lo lavo con una esponja porque no tenemos ni ducha. Y la luz da chispazos. Hace poco vinieron de la compañía y nos dijeron que había que cambiar toda la instalación porque está ya muy mal, pero el propietario no se encarga de nada. Así no podemos vivir, sólo quieren que nos vayamos”. La anciana sube encorvada las escaleras que conducen al terrat. Los peldaños desgastados y la oscuridad hacen difícil llegar a la azotea, pero la vista del mar rebela una vez arriba el potencial de este emplazamiento. A menos de 50 metros, el Mediterráneo, que antaño dio de comer a su familia y que hoy es testigo mudo de su situación . These texts describes ‘mobbing’ which is in this case occurs when a property owner, to ‘get rid’ of a long term subsidized renter, doesn’t upkeep or make repairs to the building when needed. Usually housed in older buildings that are in need of repair, the residents usually ‘make due’ with what they lack and then leave when the conditions become to unliveable. The text describes the ‘architects with no borders’ as an organization which is trying to help the residents in these instances. The city government is reported to be helping a little, yet after two months the city representative has practically not been involved at all. Text Las tres personas que residen en este piso son un padre octogenario, Agustín Pla, y sus dos hijos, Carlos, discapacitado mental, y Margarita, con pocos recursos económicos. La familia, explicó la portavoz vecinal, vivía en un bloque de pisos en la Barceloneta hasta hace unos años, cuando, tras el fallecimiento de la esposa de Agustín, no se realizó el cambio de nombre del contrato de alquiler, que era indefinido, y el dueño dio el contrato por extinguido. Hace cinco años fueron trasladados a otro piso en el mismo inmueble y ahora, al haber expirado el arrendamiento, la propiedad no lo quiere renovar. Llorca denunció que este caso es uno más de los muchos contratos de cinco años que no se renuevan o de las muestras de acoso inmobiliario que se están produciendo en el barrio, lo que representa "una expulsión lenta e indirecta de los vecinos de toda la vida, los que no son rentables, lo que está creando una gran angustia entre los residentes". La portavoz vecinal recordó que en la actualidad los contratos de alquiler que se firman llegan a los 1.500 euros mensuales, una cantidad que los vecinos tradicionales del barrio no pueden asumir . The text discusses a family with minimal financial resources had an ‘indefinite’ housing contract which they lost when the women whose name it was in died and they didn’t change the name to the husbands .Since then they have been refused renovations of their 5 year housing contracts. The text names the president of a neighbourhood association as formally complaining that the situation is one of a property owner wanting to get rid of lower paying rental contracts to attempt to find higher paying renters, charging up to 1,500 euros per month, more than many of the ‘traditional’ neighbours can afford. Text "Vivíamos en un cuarto, en el piso de mi bisabuelo, en la calle de Berenguer Mallol, y mi madre, hace cinco años, quiso alquilar la planta baja porque mi padre estaba enfermo. Yo me quedé en el de arriba y mi madre, el de abajo. Firmamos dos contratos por cinco años y en marzo se acaban. Las dos nos vamos a la calle. Ayer me llamó una mujer diciendo que ha comprado mi piso y que me marche. Tengo una niña pequeña. ¿Qué hago?" Lola, una mujer rubia, acaba de ir a la oficina de rehabilitación de la Barceloneta a explicar su caso a la funcionaria. Nerviosa, se retuerce las manos. "Estoy acostumbrada a vivir con poco. ¿Me podréis ayudar?" . This is the narrative of a ‘typical traditional’ family of la Barceloneta in which three generations live in close proximity and now have 5 year rental contracts which are now not being renewed leaving these families split apart looking for new housing in other parts of the city. Text A sus 77 años, Luisa Serrano, o la Wiki, como todo el mundo la conoce en el barrio, no entienden por qué después de tres lustros a ella y a su marido los quieren echar de su casa. “Mi familia vino en 1800 de Granada y siempre hemos vivido aquí. He trabajado en todo lo que he podido, recogiendo higos, fregando…, hasta de comadrona. De pequeña iba con mi madre a asistir a parturientas. He visto crecer a este barrio. Por eso no me imagino viviendo en otro lugar”. Luisa paga un alquiler mensual de 284 euros. Su contrato expira en 2009. El casero ha decidido no renovarlo para poder rehabilitar la finca y hacer apartamentos turísticos. Éstas son las últimas navidades que la Wiki pasará en su casa. “Por las noches no puedo dormir pensando dónde meteremos todas nuestras cosillas”, se lamenta . In a working class neighborhood often the families stay close together and spend their lives in one place. They don’t make enough money to buy homes, or if they do they can’t afford to pay for their children also to live in the neighbourhood and the multi-generational family is broken apart. Older residents have fixed incomes and have few options when their low term contracts expire. Analysis There is a consistent construction to these texts. They are first person for the most part, telling stories of how they have lost their homes due to unregulated property management. The residents identify as having little recourse to fight or advocate for the right to stay in their homes. The protagonist is the property owners or managers and the residents in many cases look to the city government to help or protect them. The results are consistent in that the city seems unable or unwilling to put a stop to these housing practices. Caring for ‘los mayores’ When the Barcelona city urban plan called for the construction of a 200 apartments in a building to be built across the highway from la Barceloneta to house the elderly and most vulnerable who would be dislocated by the introduction of elevators into their buildings, the neighbors organized and protested. The city claimed that these elderly people would be much happier in modern accessible apartments and would not have to pay any higher rent or mortgages, all contracts would be valid. The city at that moment forwarded a spatial logic that looks at space as mechanical, productive, and functional in the sense of order and management. Yet, anyone from the neighbourhood knows that the elderly residents thrive and survive and in fact the very quality of their lives depends on proximity, on being close to their younger family members and community. Proximity is integral to everything they do, the basis for the quality of their lives. To break this proximity is to break the network in which they currently function. Space, to the elderly in this neighbourhood means family, friends, community, and support. When one lives in la Barceloneta one feels proximity like a blanket, in which security lies in the short distances that separate you from the ones you love. The Elevator Plan originally as we have mentioned planned to remove 200 of the more ‘vulnerable’ residents to a new apartment complex outside of the neighbourhood across the main ‘freeway’ near the train station. This became a central rallying point for those opposing the plan and along the balconies you could see signs stating that they would fight for all residents’ right to stay in the neighbourhood if they wanted. Many commented that this was a massive ‘gentrification’ plan and a kind of attempt to cleanse the neighbourhood of low paying renters under the guise of ‘better living’. The city, after many demonstrations and media coverage changed its language and reported that no resident of la Barceloneta would be forced to leave their homes and that all housing contracts and prices would continue to be honoured. The opposing association and other activist groups did not believe the city would not pressure older residents to leave and felt that the process would take place outside of public scrutiny if not constantly watched. We had a chance to ask the ‘mediator’ who was in charge of facilitating the process for the Elevator Plan in the neighbourhood what they thought about the concerns of gentrification of the older residents from the neighbourhood. Text Pero los vecinos están en contradicción, porque las personas mayoras están muriendo de forma natural, ahora utiliza mucho el tema de los mayores, los mayores,.... pero saben que en diez años no hay mayores. Mira los tendrán los hijos tendrán allá un negocio, y eso lo que bueno, lo que entre ellos, y no prometer en que un realidad haya una seguramente… luego la gente de joven que venido a Europa que bueno reconocido el valor antropológico social, estile la vida, estructura urbano y los nuevos ciudadanos que quieren vivir allí con esa carácter. Y ellos defienden, seguramente defienden más de la Barceloneta, los nuevos jóvenes que han venido que los propios ciudadanos que están esperando hacen un negocio, no? Hay un poco de eso. -Regidora de Cuitat Vella (2008) This text in particular reveals a kind of contradiction in relation to the text the city uses in its public promotion about the intention of the Elevator Plan and what is perhaps a ‘subtext’ concerning the residents of la Barceloneta. The text begins interestingly to state that the residents are in contradiction because they identify la Barceloneta as being a neighbourhood of older people, but the older people are dying of natural causes and in ten years it won’t be a neighbourhood of older people, they will be dead; it will be a neighbourhood of younger people. Then it is stated that the younger people of la Barceloneta who are now trying to also take advantage of the attractive investment opportunities in the neighbourhood, they will be up against young investors from northern Europe who will actually defend the character of the neighbourhood better than those that grew up there, because they appreciate the value of the historical nature of the area in terms of investment value. The mediator’s text is willing to discuss conflict of interest and the limits of the city, as well as how the residents themselves are looking after their own self interests. It contrasts with the way the official citytext usually reads; that they are primarily interested in looking after the needs of the residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Yet aspects of the text are disturbing. They contrast directly with the promotion of the city in the political rhetoric about how urban planning always prioritizes ‘caring for the residents and the historical character of the neighborhood’. The reality may be that urban plans are not being made for them, the older residents, but for when they are gone. 6. Ownership, private property and exclusion: the ‘casa okupa’ ‘Miles de Viviendas’. http://www.labarceloneta.org/arxs/miles.jpg Barcelona has many unoccupied buildings and some are occupied by ‘squatters’ who pay no rent and most whom identify with the general movement of ‘casas okupas’. Occupying and living in a building that is not being used by other residents of the city, regardless of ownership challenges the cultural norms of private property and the Western tradition that only those with money or that are taken care of by the state officially deserve dignified housing. In la Barceloneta there is a main street which runs along the western side of the neighbourhood of la Barceloneta which is the main thoroughfare for tourists who are walking from the city center to the waterfront. In 2004 a group of residents of Barcelona occupied a building which used to be the Civil Police station (Sardenya, 43) for the neighbourhood. This group called their residence ‘Miles de Viviendas’ (Thousands of Homes) and they lived and maintained the building for three years, creating a space in which public political meetings were held, movies shown, a free university was established, a clothing exchange established and community celebrations took place . The building was six stories high and there were on the average 12 to 20 residents at any given time. In the year 2007, the city government was making an effort to shut down many of the occupied houses in the city. In May of 2007 the city government arrived at the residence of Miles de Viviendas and forcibly removed the residents and their belongings, putting them on the sidewalk in front of the building, bricking the door and guarding the entrance. The residents reoccupied the building after a judicial error made the eviction illegal, but then shortly after the residents were evicted again early in the morning and this time the city came with a six story high crane and cut a hole right through the center of the building, much to the dismay of the property owners on either side who were not notified. The government reports it plans to build ‘social housing’ in place of the older historical building. There were differing views concerning the residence that was occupied and the social movement of ‘casas okupas’ in general. On a public level in official media sources the division of opinion followed in general the division regarding support for the cities Elevator Plan; those that were in favour of the cities Plan wanted the residents of the occupied house to be evicted, those against were supportive of those that lived in the occupied house. Text ‘Gracias a nuestras continuas reivindicaciones, gracias a nuestras conversaciones con Port 2000 (la penúltima la mantuvimos el Lunes día 28.05.07, con el Sr.Adolfo Romagosa, y la última fue en día de ayer día 30., el Sr. Julian García miembro de la Asociación de Vecinos Barceloneta, miembro del consejo portuario, presidente del Club Atletic Barceloneta, dónde estaban presentes representantes del Ayuntamiento, y dónde se acordé, por fin, la construcción que se iba a realizar en el Paseo Joan de Borbon, 11. Con todo esto solo quiero comunicar, que no ha sido gracias a los ocupas, que no ha sido gracias a otras entidades, que ahora se quisieran subir al carro de la victoria. Que durante muchos años, prácticamente desde que fue desalojado, ha sido reivindicado por esta entidad, para que se convirtiera en un edificio social para el barrio de la Barceloneta. A.S. AAVV. La Barceloneta, Oct, 2007. Pg.7. The text is a public statement claiming the credit for the eviction of the occupied house, implied in the statement that there was a ‘victory’ by the eviction and that construction of the social housing for la Barceloneta can begin. This is written by the long standing association of la Barceloneta which has worked supportively with the city government to forward the Elevator Plan. The text ‘self congratulates’ saying that due to the associations continual demands and conversations with the Port 2000 the process of evicting the occupied house began and now the construction of the new social housing can begin. One of the members mentioned as having participated in these meetings had this to say in a private interview: Text …Era clarísimo verdad a nadie tiene dudas de cual suportar el barrio desalojo los okupas, es mentira que esta diciendo la televisión en los pequeños programas, mentira. Los okupas son universitarios, gente con tarjeta de oro, ¿sabes? Tienen bastante conocimientos y medios. J.G. Presidente Club de Natacion. La Barcelonesa. The text states that there is no doubt who supported the eviction of the occupied house (meaning the speaker and his associations). The text accuses the media of creating lies that the ‘squatters’ are poor people who can’t afford to pay rent, that they are actually university graduates with ‘gold visa cards’. The criticism is that ‘squatters’ are not people in need financially, implying that they are just interested in not working and living by the obligations and norms that the majority of the citizens have to. Two subject positions are constellated, one being the rightful resident of a neighbourhood who follows the law and has seen history ‘first’ hand, and the other being the ‘wrongful’ one, those who are ‘temporary’ and illegal, the ones who lie and have a romantized and false perspective on history. The ‘other’ in this case has no rights in terms of the neighbourhood and are merely trying to exploit the neighbourhood, live cheaply and not participate in the economic and social life correctly. Although some of the residents of the neighbourhood were not pleased with their presence, the residents of Miles de Viviendas also had support from other residents and associations who over time formed alliances and friendships with them. Text El grup d'esquàters que des de fa uns dos anys viu a l'antiga caserna de la Guàrdia Civil, situada al passeig Joan de Borbó, tenen el suport de l'associació de veïns de la Barceloneta. Aquesta entitat assegura que les persones que van ocupar l'edifici s'han integrat i han participat en la vida del barri des del començament. La Guàrdia Civil, però, els vol fer marxar d'aquest edifici i ja ha obert el procediment judicial per fer-ho en un màxim de sis mesos, segons ha informat a aquest diari el Ministeri d'Interior. Per la seva banda, els ocupants de l'immoble, una vintena de persones, continuen vivint i fent l'activitat habitual. «No en tenim cap queixa, al contrari, tenim una bona relació amb les persones que van ocupar l'antiga caserna de la Guàrdia Civil», explica el president de l'associació de veïns de la Barceloneta, Manel Moscat. El representant veïnal opina que l'ocupació de l'edifici del número 11 del passeig Joan de Borbó, conegut amb el nom de 1000es de Viviendas , ha estat fins i tot positiva per al barri: «Abans aquell edifici estava abandonat, i com a mínim aquest col•lectiu que hi ha viscut l'ha fet servir amb una bona finalitat, i li ha donat un bon ús. » (Appendix IX) -R. Resident of la Barceloneta (2007) The text is written by a member of the opposing association and states that the residents of the occupied house have the support of the association and to assure publically that the residents have participated and integrated into the neighbourhood since they arrived. The text goes on to state in spite of the fact that the city government and police have wanted to evict these residents and has begun a legal procedure to do so in a maximum of six months, the 20 or so residents continue to live there. There is nothing they have to complain about their presence, in fact the opposite, that the association has a good relationship with the occupants. Together they declare that the occupied house has been beneficial to the association and the neighbourhood in general. Analysis Many issues connect with the contrast between supportive texts and non-supportive texts; private property, the Welfare State and city, democracy and socialism, the ethics of capitalist relations etc. The text has as subjects the associations, as representative of the neighbourhood and positioned in relation to the subject of this group of residents, the occupiers. The difference between the texts points to central debates in urban politics in most western cities. Where do these issues get debated and who ultimately decides what happens in any particular urban context? The destruction of the Miles de Viviendas and the eviction of the occupants represented an exercise of political power by the city, exacerbated by the strange and potentially dangerous unannounced demolition of the building. There was no public debate, but an exercise in political power in which the city has determined that unoccupied houses can sit empty while residents are homeless or without proper housing they can afford. The debate can not happen in city halls, so the issue is played out in the streets. The issue of occupied houses connects with issues of exploitative housing prices and practices. An new urban ‘culture’ had formed between the occupied house residents and other residents who might not have any previous contact with the occupied housing movement forming relationships and sharing perspectives on issue that effected them both including urban restructuring. For some of the residents of ‘la Barceloneta’ the occupied house became in a short period of two years, a political and social presence that aside from many other functions was a conduit for political awareness, opening up and questioning norms related to core issues of housing, privatization and ownership, and the reproduction of capitalist relations of power. Housing issues are central to the maintenance of urban power relations and the city government enforces tight control over certain practices and urban debates. If one looks at the neighbourhood as a body, a functioning social unit, one might consider the residence of the occupied house as a kind of social consciousness and critical perspective on what types of politics are occurring. That is to say that the space was unique in that it provided a meeting and space of debate in which urban power relations was the central ‘object’ of discussion. Outside text One possibility outside the text is that each neighbourhood could decide in what way they believe housing should be organized. The centralization of the city government as having almost total control over how issues such as housing occur in the neighbourhoods is a norm that goes practically unquestioned. Why couldn’t each neighbourhood have the power to design, manage and decide many of the issues of their particular neighbourhood? The citytext of the government promises to be ‘good’ parents to the neighbourhoods, but why should the residents be subjected as ‘children’? As we will see in the next section, a paradoxical dynamic in urban political process is that the city while controlling and dominating the decision making power over urban development then complains that the residents are not ‘mature’, are negative, and only complain rather than participate correctly by supporting the government. The bind is clear, if the only possibilities the residents are given is to express opinions and reactions, while having no decision making power or involvement in the actual design, implementation and management of urban development, then they do so, in a sense take on this ‘passive’ negative subjectivity because it is the only way to express discontent legally. The city government wants cooperation and support, but what if both the urban planning options the residents don’t agree with and the fact that the city totally controls what options are available in regards to the form in which their neighbourhoods are being developed. The options for the residents are to use the chance to express their opinion by complaining, refuse or block the process, and/or take to the streets. Occupying unoccupied buildings is a way of not following the norms of the city, or if you like, the bind; it is an expression in one way of maturity in that it does not acknowledge and refuses to follow the centralized domination of the cities version of reality, what the city should look like, or how social relations should occur. We will look closely now at political process while thinking about governance, norms of conduct, and the possible and ‘impossible’ ways of making cityspaces. PART THREE: POLITICAL PROCESS Text Nosotros hemos hablado con muchas entidades, hemos llegado a puntos en común, no con todos, cosa que no entiendo mucho pero me merece todo mi respecto, en este país existe la libertad de expresión y mientras no se hagan las cosas sin los permisos debidos y de manera ilegal, se puede uno manifestar todo lo que se quiera. -CM Regidor de Cuitat Vella (2007) In this section we focus on texts related to the political process surrounding the ‘Elevator Plan’ for la Barceloneta. We broke them down in to three overlapping and intertwined themes: Rights and/or Responsibilities, Participation, and Decision Making. Our emphasis here is on selected city government texts and their oppositions could help us reflect on the production of urban power relations in this context. As we have mentioned the city government of Barcelona produces plentiful public information declaring its successful history and dedication to urban political process which ‘involve’ the residents. In the cities ‘Elevator’ Plan for la Barceloneta there are whole sections of the Plan dedicated to how the city was to make sure that the residents were involved in the planning. Despite these efforts a vocal opposition arose claiming that the cities form of ‘participation’ was not satisfactory and did not give them a chance to be involved in the way that they wanted. We look at this oppositional text again in relation to the citytext as a place from which we could reflect on the reproduction of certain types of urban power relations. The City as Mediator We interviewed the ‘new’ mediator for the old city (Cuitat Vella) twice in 2007 and then again in 2009 and asked her about her perspectives on her position as mediator, the urban plans for ‘la Barceloneta’ and her perspectives on the resistance and conflicts which had been ongoing. The new ‘regidora’ or city representative for ‘Cuitat Vella’ was brought into replace the previous representative. It appeared obvious that she was chosen due to her background in urban mediation and there were hopes that she would smooth out some of the conflicts between the residents and the city. The mediator reported when she came into her position she would begin an intensive year of ‘education’ to prepare the citizens for appropriate political participation. The residents are not prepared for consensus because of their lack of political education and there will be an intensive one year period of preparation. The residents will have to work hard to bring themselves up to this level. Her position for us was particularly illustrative for several reasons; one is that she was brought in purposely by the city government to mediate the urban conflicts between the city and the opposing forces; also, she was a professional mediator . It was interesting to contrast the cities political rhetoric with the new mediator, she was clearly more willing to be critical of many areas of the politics surrounding la Barceloneta, and to present a much more historical and complex perspective of the tensions and conflicts which had been and continued to be a part of the politics. She also had very strong ideas about what directions would be useful for the residents and the city to take to improve the situation. We will discuss in the next chapter what types of urban political processes are represented by the attempt of the city to take the ‘role’ of mediator. It is an interesting and indicative attempt to ‘fix’ or integrate the opposing resistance into the cities structure. Our question throughout was whether this strategy by the city would in effect turn into a sort of recuperation attempt of create new openings for a more progressive grass roots urban political process. 1. THEME ONE: OWNERSHIP, RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Public and Private Text ‘Porque si las viviendas se degradan, no hay ascensores y no hay capacidad de mejorar las condiciones de habitabilidad, si no hay plan no hay ayudas públicas. Estamos ofreciendo una oportunidad de ayudas públicas en la que todo el mundo va a salir ganando’, (pg.11). -Regidor de la Barceloneta (2007) The terms public and private run throughout urban discourse as expressions which can be put to use ideologically (assuming a broad spectrum of associations concerning what is legal, correct, and progressive), as well as within contemporary strategies of regulation and control. These terms are related to issues surrounding rights, responsibilities and access to information and decision making. In the oppositional texts we reviewed and collected many of the criticisms of the cities urban plans ‘pushed’ up against the assumed or legalized normative ways these terms are used and put to practice. This opposition at times addresses not only the specific urban plans the city has made, but the issues surrounding who has the right to plan, to access public funds, to represent the residents, or control or regulate the private system. So the opposition to the urban Plan of the city can be read as having two levels; one opposing the particular urban changes the city is proposing, the other the manner in which power relations themselves are being structured and exercised. In terms of influence and the power to effect changes in the urban environment, the private sector and its relationship with the city government is critical. The residents of a typical urban neighbourhood in Barcelona usually have very little access and relationship with the private sector outside of small local businesses which is reflected in their criticism of the city for not controlling speculation, tourists, and mobbing practices by large development corporations. It is fair to say that it is usually in the best interests for the private sector to have little or no relationship with residents, limited soley to the resident as consumers. Information about the private sector and/or public private urban development projects is not easily available to residents, available after the Plans are developed, or totally inaccessible and protected as property of the business. Yet the city itself remains the only ‘accepted’ avenue for the residents to confront, question, limit, or stop the private sector from its development pursuits. We address this further in our analysis of texts related to the political process of cities urban Plan for la Barceloneta. Text In an interview the first assistant to the mayor of Barcelona declared in the planning stages that the ‘Elevator’ Plan for la Barceloneta lacked private sector involvement. ‘Hace falta la declaración de área especial de intervención por parte de la Generalitat para que sea la iniciativa privada la que se anime a rehabilitar a fondo, tal como ha ocurrido en otras partes de Ciutat Vella, como en el Raval’, afirma Casas . -X.C., primer teniente de alcalde del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona In this text the object is the Plan and the subjects are the city and the mayor’s assistant. He claims what the project lacks is the private sector ‘initiative’ like what occurred in other parts of the old city (like Raval ). The city declares itself ‘in need’ of private sector involvement to gain the funding needed to implement the urban reforms it needs. This is one of the central underpinnings of urban development in Barcelona, the ‘productive’ relationship between the private and public sector. But it is important to read this through the criticism which identifies that it is the exploitation of the private sector that leaves the city ‘in need’ of funds. The extraction of urban capital to all levels of the private sector is particularly important in the neoliberal critique which claims that the development corporations make high profits in urban development while giving nothing to the communities, so that the city then needs to make deals with these corporations to make further urban development. The need the city has must be analyzed again, in a systemic way as a counter-hegemonic discourse, to see more fully the role the private sector plays in urban development. The city government of Barcelona has utilized the private system in the form of public and private municipal corporations (BIMSA) to promote the idea that the public sector and the private sector can work together for the betterment of all. This ideology and strategy has been criticized by activists groups who claim that the results of the blending of public and private interests results in the creation of urban spaces operating for the benefit of the corporate class at the expense of the residents from middle and lower income structures. As an example, one text from the website of the organization called the Foment de Cuitat Vella of which la Barceloneta is within its jurisdiction demonstrates the type of legitimization that the city publishes to justify the merging of public and private funds for urban development. This is the cities published description of the public private organization which has managed a number of the larger scale urban development projects in Barcelona. The organization is a municipal agent due to the fact the city have invested 51% of its capital is from the city government. This means that the city picks up a large responsibility for its administration, the planning direction and its projects, the management of its properties and construction and its office of Rehabilitation. As a public-private agent it promotes itself as a agency which works on urban transformations only with clear public interest together with the private system . Foment de Ciutat Vella ha sido diseñado para desarrollar actuaciones de transformación urbanística conjuntamente con la iniciativa privada. Esta segunda vertiente sólo puede producirse cuando se den tres condiciones necesarias: la primera es la existencia de un interés público en los objetivos finales de la operación; la segunda es la existencia de una previsión razonable de un cierto retorno económico que garantice el equilibrio financiero en la aportación, ya sea técnica, humana o inversora, y finalmente que la participación de Foment no suponga entrar en competencia con grupos privados que por sí solos serían capaces de llevar a cabo la misma operación. Foment dispone de una contabilidad y estructura funcional específicas para las actividades de carácter privado, de modo que ambas actividades están perfectamente diferenciadas. -Foment de Cuitat Vella (2004-2008) This statement is to reassure the public that the private initiatives are being monitored and must meet criteria which will assure them that public funding and the city government are working in their interests and with their own accounting system and structure which will make sure that they (the public and private system) are ‘perfectly differentiated’. In terms of voice then this text is written by the city to the ‘public’ about their relationship with the private sector, as a reassuring text it produces also a reader, in this case the ‘concerned citizen’ in terms of the conflict of interest. The reassurance is stated in terms of what the city will do to make sure that they are only working in the public’s best interest. There are three conditions listed by the city that are necessary to have an urban project be run by private and public initiative, the first being only working on projects in which the objectives include the existence of ‘public interests’. Beside the vagueness of the text which leaves almost unlimited range to decide what constitutes the ‘existence of public interests in the objectives, the political issue in terms of public/private relates to why the city has the right to monitor itself, in other words if the city is deciding when it meets its criteria then there does not exist any real ‘check’ on their initiatives since they can decide when the conditions are met. The second condition is a the ‘existence of a reasonable prevision of a certain economic return that guaranties the financial equilibrium in terms of technical, human or investment benefit’. Again, besides the unlimited room for interpretation about what constitutes terms such as ‘reasonable’ and ‘equilibrium’, the public is to be reassured that the city will monitor all this themselves. Lastly the city says that they will not compete for any project with the private sector that the private sector can do adequately themselves. Analysis We will comment on this text on two levels: the first being the foundational production of the city as a ‘public’ entity. The city reproduces this identity by attempting to separate its identity from the ‘private sector’ and then demonstrates this in its description of this institution or organization called the Foment to reassure ‘the public’ that it is clearly separated. A constant theme in the opposing texts revolves around the challenge to this declared separation, saying the opposite; that the city government works closely with the public sector because in essence they are working to construct the same system, accumulation schemes for the private sector . Because Spain identifies itself with a socialist government, a more neoliberal economic stance would potentially not go well with the public; that the State should step out of regulating business to let the market forces work, eventually through competition bring increasing profit to the more advanced forms of development and trickle down to the public sector, thus to also raise the standard of living of society in general. Spain and the Catalan government need to maintain ‘welfare state’ rhetoric, although arguably it is constantly being modified and even neoliberalized. Thus the city government must constantly attempt to make symbolic efforts to demonstrate that this separation is ‘real’ and enforced. The opposition says that this is essentially a lie. In the city rhetoric it is useful to consider in terms of power relations what is not considered. Outside the realm of the possible If we imagine what is not considered within the realm of the possible is that the residents themselves would be a part of an independent group that has the power to design, decide, and monitor city urban planning schemes. Why aren’t the residents given the power to judge plans, to receive the cities ideas and then decide what to do with them. It raises the spector of centralized power, of everything coming from the center and thus, also raises the question of rhetoric. In other words, how to you convince a body of people that they are making decisions when you are ones that set all the terms of what is possible, control the money, and have all the technical expertise? If the state is being ‘decentered’ toward the city, then the centers of power are to be found their, but the multinational system concentrates in networks, specializing in extraction, markets, and speculation; creating dependence and consumption, debt and systems of debt both legal and illegal. So the centered city is also a management site for the multinational system, essentially neoliberalization is this. The paradox is that this system is becoming better known, probably as it become more powerful it attracts investigators. Analysis Does this raise the possibility of a type of ‘discourse’, the western civic city is like a spector, a phantom which works to produce citizens which accept the system of control by playing by the rules? It seems too obvious at times and easy to find those that understand. Yet the difficulty for me seems to be that the debates which are fundamental are not allowed in city hall, in the universities at times, and certainly in the private sector. It is protected by the ‘public system’ which means they are all bought off. So the public sector protects the private spector which does the dirty work, legally, illegally, depending on the context. A large part of academia, particularly the social service produces the justifications for the regulatory aspects of this system and corruption. The complexity for residents who wish to analyze who and what is driving particular urban agendas is that it is to the advantage of the private system to remain invisible, inaccessible, and vague to the residents and political activists who might question the value of private developers involved in the urban restructuring of their neighbourhood. Government officials play a convoluted role by promoting private and public associations claiming that they both have the resident interests in mind while the private system remains inaccessible with only government officials having any access. This may in part explain why urban activists take to the streets, as they feel that they don’t have any type of relationship or power outside of direct protest and resistance, particularly with the private system . The issue of the city and its relationship with the Private sector became an increasingly central topic in the investigation as it became clear that the real estate property developers and foreign investors are having a huge impact on the urban development of the neighbourhood. If the city was promoting their ‘Elevator’ plan as a major improvement to the neighbourhood, how did they related this to the apparently destructive effects of tourist apartments, speculation, and mobbing? I asked the cities mediator who was largely responsible for developing the plan of participation for the ‘elevator’ Plan what the city was doing about regulating and controlling private sector exploitation of the real estate market. I was very interested in how she would explain the contradiction that the city was promoting public/private development and was also claiming the role of regulating destructive real estate exploitation by the private sector. She commented about the relationship, stating that the ‘elevator’ Plan was needed precisely to protect the neighbourhood. Text Already they (the development businesses in the private sector) are deciding, the private system. It’s clear that this is the fracture in the society. The private system is controlling the policies, for that as I have said, the citizens and the city government need to be together. (The private system) is against the State, the Republic, and the political. The private system wants a city government separate from the citizens. A government separated can’t lead….I am not the private system. You have to decide, but if you decide you are with me, you have to give me your confidence. It’s logical; I will make gestures to gain their confidence, powerful gesture, not just words. (Itziar, 2008) I will fight against the corporations that are doing ‘mobbing’, defend the residents, I can do that. But if a resident doesn’t want to be here, then I am not comfortable. What I want to say is that the city government has half of the responsibility about what happens, the other half goes to the residents, half, half, period. In another way I have half also, but again, ‘la Barceloneta’ will sell itself the way it does. (Itziar, 2008) In an interesting and lively text, there are several subjective positions outlined; the city government, the private sector, and a subjective ‘I’ which is the position of mediator, and the residents. This ‘I’ is symbolically not the city government per se, but a type of advisor as to the situation with the city government and the other interested parties. The text begins with a warning and advice that the private sector is already ‘deciding’ in terms of how Barcelona will develop and that the ‘fracture’ is in the society. The private sector is positioned as controlling the urban policies and the city and the citizen need to be together (to fight this type of ‘takeover’). The text positions the private sector as against the State, the Republic, and the political system; it works to separate the citizen from the city which means the city government can not lead. The ‘I’ then clearly declare it is not the private system and there is a decision to be made: for or against ‘me’. It is not clear if ‘being with her’ means being with the city government exactly, but this is implied. This shift to the personal is interesting because it promotes a kind of personal relationship, a loyalty and a requested confidence. This ‘I’ will be a type of warrior against the private system, it can and will defend the residents. Yet this ‘I’ can only do this if the residents want it and give it their confidence. Then there is a shift back from the personal to the institutional level as the text discusses the city government as being 50% responsible and the residents, the other 50%. Then in a confusing sort of mathematical comment, the ‘I’ re-appears saying that it also has 50% of the responsibility. Lastly there is a statement that the residents will decide; ultimately it is up to them. Analysis As we will continue to consider in the next section on ‘participation’, this particular subject, the mediator is traversing an intriguing space between the subjectivity of the city and the resident. Perhaps an unfair metaphor, but the dynamic likens to the classical ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’ in that the city is positioned as an institution that the resident doesn’t trust, a ‘bad cop in a sense’, yet something the residence could take advantage of in terms of funds and protection from the ‘real’ enemy, the private system. To do so the resident needs to trust the ‘good cop’, the ‘I’ that is speaking to them, the good cop is advising and finally even feeling responsible for what happens. In terms of the conflict between the residents and the city, the mediator (who works for the city) is producing a different ‘reality’ in some ways than the city whose utopic version of the neighbourhood tends to leave particularly the opposing residents with no confidence that they understand the reality they live in. The mediator is more willing to speak of the negative, both as a reality and as a future threat. In this way it joins the resident in their anger and fear that the neighbourhood is in ‘danger’ of losing a quality of life it values. The mediator though speaks of joining the city not in the fantasy of utopia, but on a much more practical level for security and the power to have a voice in the way the urban environment is developing. It is an appeal to solidarity and trust that the resident’s interests will be looked after, by the mediator. Outside text As we discussed issues with the mediator is was clear that she was speaking from a different position than the traditional voice of the city. The appeal was the legitimization of the opposing resident’s frustration and desire to have more political involvement and control. Yet the text moves the city to the horizontal and puts the mediator as a powerful agent, someone who could lead the residents in a struggle against the private system and work with the city government to do that. Yet what is not discussed is giving in any degree the decision making power to the residents, or supporting their autonomy in any way as a political body. The text produced a confident who worked within the power relations that the residents were excluded from, but there was no talk about the residents becoming a powerful political body themselves. So the residents had a choice, between working and trusting the mediator or going on their own to negotiate with the city and the private system. This brought us to the question of ‘participation’ which was a center[piece of the mediator rhetoric even before beginning working with the neighbourhood. 2. THEME TWO: PARTICIPATION Probablemente es cierto que las asociaciones de vecinos quizás se han burocratizado, forman parte ya de una estructura institucional de participación y, por una serie de circunstancias, no responden a la complejidad y diversidad de los barrios donde se hallan situadas. Creo que aquí hay una tarea doble a desarrollar. Por una parte, la administración debería hacer una reflexión sobre cómo son y cómo deberían ser los procesos participativos y no conformarse únicamente con la presencia de un vecino en los órganos de participación, vecino al que por otra parte hay que mantener en silencio; es lamentable que con demasiada frecuencia se escuchen comentarios de técnicos y políticos municipales del tipo "ahora los tenemos muy callados”. Esta distancia entre nosotros y los otros creo que se tendría que romper y desaparecer: en definitiva los administradores están porque existen los administrados. -Dr.Mercedes Tajer (1980). UAB Spain is far from the level of citizen participation (of Switzerland) but they are trying, they are making declarations of intentions, in my case its not this way, its not a declaration of intentions, its that it’s the only way I do things, I don’t know how to do them in another way. …The problem is that ‘la Barceloneta’ is not prepared for consensus; I am ready to prepare them for consensus. Quickly, in one year they will know it all, we will begin an intensive process, if they are going to make their opinions about all these things, they have to work hard. -Regidora de Cuitat Vella (2008) The city of Barcelona had in 2008 began a city wide campaign to promote a plan of ‘participation’ for the city, asking citizens ‘what kind of city they wanted’ by sending in their written comments and to make it clear that Barcelona and the future Barcelona would be theirs to decide. The city government had a history of promoting citizen involvement and as we have discussed neighbourhood associations historically have been very active in city politics. Participation was a type of slogan that was repeatedly found in the cities urban political rhetoric (see the website of the Ajuntament on citizen participation). A critical question in the rhetoric surrounding urban politics has to do with the use of the expression of ‘participation’, and what is forwarded by the definitions one uses or attaches to this meaning. Text El otro día anunciamos que se intentaba poner en marcha un Plan de la Vivienda en la Barceloneta. En el próximo Pleno de Distrito, que será el 5 de julio, explicaremos por dónde va a ir todo esto y por donde creemos que tiene que ir. Abriremos entonces el debate y en otoño, creo, estaremos en condiciones de aprobar los planteamientos urbanísticos que hagan falta para que empiece esta dinámica. Una dinámica que tiene que tener distintas fases. Una fase más de fondo, que forzosamente va a ser lenta pero también hay distintas cosas que se pueden ir ya materializándose.’ -Regidor de Cuitat Vella (2007) In this text (and reflected in the manner in which ‘participation’ proceeded in the restructuring process) we can see reflected a type of politics in which the city holds a meeting to tell the citizenry what the Plan is and where it is going, then they will have meetings to open debate and approve the plan. The version of ‘participation’ then was firstly one in which the city designed the plan then the residents had the opportunity to react and even debate the cities Plan. In this text ‘participation’ put the city in the position of defining all the parameters of the Plan and then the residents would have a chance to react, the possible options would be defined by the city. Analysis If you have the power to define the parameters of possibilities, you have the power to define the direction of development. The city wanted to create the ‘participatory’ citizen as one who is satisfied choosing from the cities options. Yet as we will see, this is a foundational point of conflict which directly relates to the production and resistance surrounding the urban Plan of the city. It also involves the ability that the residents have to identify, and have a relationship with the conflict of interest around the private system. For the city is a partner with the private system, thus the city and the private system are structuring the limits and parameters of who decides what and under what conditions. Text The city tended to promote itself as ‘being a city of participation’ as a more blanket declaration. The mediator for la Barceloneta who was adamite about her campaign for ‘participation’ felt that the residents themselves had a long way to go to become an effective and active participating political body : The reality is that there is very little maturity (politically), their (the residents) arguments are not real, they are based mostly in fear,… the ‘left’ uses a lot of words, but do very little. Between the ‘left’ which is not so credible and the ‘right’ which tends to simplify, there is the truth. The citizen has a very poor level of political education. They have the impulse to organize, to make claims, but they are not good at speaking, at participating politically. (Itziar, 2008)…..construyendo comunidad que es el gran reto, más que los partidos políticos, que finalmente no dejan de ser grupos de intereses… maquinas electorales, la política no se produce ahí, se producen por los pequeños problemas detectados por la ciudadanía que se expresan al político, y el político si tiene un buen técnico puede ir solucionarlo pero quien lidera realmente, o quien liderara ahora el cambio de las sociedades es una ciudadanía, pero una ciudadanía adulta, madura. Y claro ni tienes al político preparado, ni tienes al vecino de la calle preparado…hay que superar un poco la queja infantil y bueno ya que tienen razón en muchas cosas tienen que aprender a expresar mejor las cosas. (Itziar, 2008) Es mentira. Estamos más maduros que ella. Ella puede tener conocimiento porque ella desprestigia a los asociación de los vecinos porque su maestro la enseño (C.M.). -Activista en contra del Plan. The text creates four significant subjectivities; the mediator (as author), the residents, and the ‘left’ and the ‘right’. The text creates several objects: reality, maturity, fear, credibility, truth, political education and speaking ability/participating politically. The mediator as author is the voice of ‘reality’, ‘the real’, ‘truth’, the one that defines the left and right, good political education and good speaking/political participation. It is a powerful position, a critical one which is attempting to declare among all the ‘distorted’ approaches to the situation, what is the correct one. The resident is immature politically, makes unreal arguments based in fear (meaning that they can not see correctly because they are so dominated by fear) and has a poor level of political education with the impulse to organize and make claims but not good at speaking/political participation. The ‘left’ uses lots of words but do very little and the ‘right’ simplifies. In between the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ there is the ‘truth’ which the mediator understands. It is a text which is a kind of declaration spoken to an outsider, not to any of the ‘subejcts’ being spoken about,…to someone who can understand the ‘truth’ also, or should. Two aspects of the text are striking; the authoritative and dominant subject position of the mediator in terms of ‘truth’ claims and the breath of authority towards all political parties and all residents. It’s a sweeping critical text which creates the voice of the author as exclusively privileged to the ‘true’ perspective and ‘reality’. The text sets up the question of ‘what the truth really is?’, or its opposite; the rejection of the author who claims the truth. In contrast to the cities enthusiasm the text produces a critical analysis of all politics and creates a position outside of both that will find the truth in between the parties. It is a seductive or insulting text, depending on whether you, as the reader ‘give’ at least the benefit of the doubt to the author. It can be read as a kind of bind as there is not way to gain any information about the ‘ideas’ as a perspective without accepting the conditions of the subjectivification. There is not room for plurality, thus the reader or other subject positions needs to argue the legitimization of the claim to authority, otherwise they will be reproduce the subjective position of ‘below’ or as ‘false’. It also creates a ‘correct’ or ‘mature’ subject position (of which the residents are not) which is good at speaking and thus participating. This enlistment of ‘good speaking and correct political participation’ or ‘maturity’ all construct normative systems which can be read as forms of regulation and control. The subject position of the resident has a choice, within the binary of being ‘good’, ‘correct’ and ‘mature’,and if the resident doesn’t chose the option presented in the text they are positioned as the opposite. Text In another text by the mediator the subjectivity of the resident is (somewhat paradoxically) produced as the agent in power. It’s to return, to return to, that the citizens feel implicated in the city government, that they realize that in the end the government and the city don’t do anything other than what the citizens ask for, so its to establish our complicity with the citizens, to remake this complicity. (Itziar G; 2008) The text enlists the resident now as the subject in power and the city government as the institution that only does what the resident wants. The author is speaking about the ‘elevator’ plan and stating that it is a ‘return to a feeling’ of the resident of being implicated in the city government. The ‘return’ implies that the residents had at one time in the past, felt more implicated in the city government and they can recover this realization that the city is not more than the institution which does what they want. This text is stating exactly the opposite of what the opposing residents report is their reality. Text When asked how the process of plan of participation was going after a year and one half, the president of one of the opposing neighbourhood associations commented about the process of reunions in which the mediators’ assistant was facilitating. The issue she is commenting on is that the first assistant they liked and the second they described as ‘very cold’. …creo que ella (la primera) entiendo bien el problema del barrio. Nos conocía bien a los vecinos, y …..y la sacaron (the city government). Se ha ido o se sacaron, ya llego una chica tal M., que hemos tenido dos reuniones muy frías, muy técnicas, pero no ha venido nada tampoco. Y todo la participación que hemos leído que esta (7:43) dentro el PAC, nada reflejado a los que refiero el barrio. -Activist in opposition (2009) Text In relation to the opposing group’s form of political expression: Y el problema es que las nuevas plataformas se cargan con la administración pública cuando es todo lo que tienen, lo que tendrían que hacer es colaborar con ella y exigir nuevas vías de colaboración. Y es tan, tan negativos, su discurso es tan demagógico también, en contra de todo lo que sea poder. Que lo que no se dan cuentan que es la única vía, es a lo que yo me dedico a rehabilitar estructuras, no? (Itziar, 2008) Another problem according to the representative is that the residents are very negative especially to anyone that is in a position of power. They need to learn to collaborate and find new avenues for this collaboration. Its not only one option, it’s the only option according to her. The limits of participation Text The citizens will decide. We can bring in the experts and stage the debate, and when we have information, to say it, but we don’t decide, the citizens do…you can not participate unless you are prepared. I will include everybody, even those who often are destructive because they often influence others decisions …But, when different residents with these great differences get together against the government, that is when I will say no, I am not interested. I want to work with everybody, but not against the city government, nor against the administration, (if) they are not in favour of a series of things (fine), but never against. I believe that to be against is an error. (Regidora,, 2008) Yo trabajar con un ciudadano Europea que quiere esto que sea, marivilloso me parece bien, trabajar con un propietario que quiere hacer su legitimo negocio buen ya hablaremos que hacemos, pero trabajar que gente que esta recupera okupa, yo quiero trabajar con todos, pero no contra el ayuntamiento, no contra la administración, no a favor de una series de cosas, pero nunca en contra, no? (Regidora, 2008) The limits to the position of the representative are the questioning of the structure of power relations. This means that the debates which can be brought up in the meetings with the neighbors can not touch the issue of power relations if the cities urban power structure can not be addressed, such as the issue of who designs the urban plans, who has the right to make decisions and how these decisions are made, and who will have access to the information, the management of the contracts and the regulation of the work that is done. Participation then amounts to a political process in which the first level of debate is centered: the practical issues surrounding how the cities plans will be implemented possibly modified in terms of the residents needs. The second level which involves the actual design of both the urban built structure, meaning who has the right to design what changes are needed and manage the funding for these changes, as well as create the power structure by which the whole process is developed, managed, and regulated is untouchable and will not be tolerated. Thus ‘participation’ itself becomes assimilation rather than actual grass roots based urban politics, and as result those interested in political change will continue to be critical. Two issues remain: one is that the reproduction of power relations is not a static but an active social form, in other words the continued political power structure, if recuperated will expand in form, so that urban spaces in neoliberal politics will become increasingly privatized with the role of the city and state to manage the negative impacts: increasing income disparity, lack of real jobs, destruction of the environment, and increasing social problems due to poverty, social inactivity, and increasing closed rather than open social mobility. To arrive at this perspective though, we needed to consider the critical relationship between the city and the private sector. If the limits to the urban restructuring politics were that the cities system of power could not be addressed, challenged, questioned, or debated, then we were left considering what the city had claimed to be working to manage to come extent; the private sector. In the cities official text the private sector is either not mentioned, or mentioned as a critical aspect of economic survival, thus something the city must make itself attractive for, or mentioned as the best partner for the city in terms of urban development. We wanted to question the city representative as to what her position was in regards to the private sector which the opposition clearly identifies as the main threat to their community and neighbourhood, and asks the city to regulate and limit so that the developers can be stopped from further turning their neighbourhood into an open market for tourists and speculators. Text The following text in an editorial in a grass roots independent newspaper in Barcelona commented similarly. En su transformación continua, Barcelona se ha olvidado siempre de un pequeño detalle: los vecinos, la opinión popular, ciudadana. Esta opinión popular no hubiera evitado que la ciudad se transformara, pero sí que expulsara a los vecinos no rentables económicamente. El “plan de los ascensores” vuelve a servirnos como ejemplo para ello (¿a cuánta gente le han preguntado cómo quería que fuera su barrio para elaborar este plan?). Sin embargo, esto no quiere decir que el ayuntamineto no hable de “participación” (prueba de ello es el proceso del PAD de esta legislatura). Digamos aquí que hay dos tipos de participación: la mediada por la administración, que -excepto en casos aislados como Marinaleda- siempre tiene como resultados algo muy parecido a los que la administración ya esperaba y quería tener. Y la participación impulsada desde abajo. Ésta suele estar desestructurada, muchas veces llega a destiempo, y utiliza un lenguaje poco técnico; pero sobre todo, tiene una característica esencial que es no ser tolerada por la administración. Aquí es donde los dos tipos de participación hacen un cruce estrambótico a ojos del sentido común, ya que el cruce debería producirse en otro lugar: en la mera traducción a lenguaje y posibilidad técnica de aquello que los vecinos decimos, pedimos, reclamamos o exigimos. Ambas tienen un elemento vital en común: no son nada más que cháchara si no incluyen un momento de decisión. En La Barceloneta, hasta hoy, toda la participación que hemos conseguido ha sido a golpe de cacerola y de presencia en la calle, porque si no existe la amenaza del castigo político (y esta época de elecciones es una prueba más de ello) no existes . In this opposing text, there is first a declaration of a historical process of urbanization which has forgotten the residents. If the opinions of the residents were included, then the transformations would take place, but without gentrifying lower income rental flats. The ‘elevator’ plan is an example of that. This is not to say that the city government doesn’t talk about participation, but there are two types of participation; the type of participation driven by the city government in which they end up with the type of changes that they desire, and the other driven from bottom up, from the grassroots. The second type of development is ‘unstructured, often not on time, not articulated in technical language, and moreover has an essential character which is not tolerated by the city administration’. The text then says that both types are necessary, have a common sense, and ‘cross’ in another place’, with the need for a type of ‘translation’ of language and create other technical possibilities. These are nothing but ‘talk’ if they are not included in the decision making process. Up until now in la Barceloneta the only ‘participation’ that ‘we’ have achieved has been on the streets protesting, because if there did not exist any political reaction (‘castigo’), ‘we’ wouldn’t exist. Analysis The opposing text is spoken in the form of ‘we’ as a voice from a collective opposition. It declares that the residents have never really been included in the city’s types of urban transformations, the city talks about ‘participation’ but in actuality creates a urban political process in which they obtain the type of restructuring they want. It states there are two types of participation which are both essential: a traditional one driven by the cities political needs and a grass roots type of participation which comes from the residents. It states that the later is a process that in a sense occurs in a different logic of time, structure, language and essence which is not tolerated by the city. So the talk of ‘participation’ by the city is only words unless it sees this as an equal and essential ‘other’ to be met as a crossroads (implying as an equal, as another way). Finally it states that the reason the residents are in the street demonstrating (for the past 2 years) is that there is no other place for them, if they were not there, they would not exist. What is being declared by this ‘collective’ voice is that there are two subjectivities and practices; one being the cities way of imagining urbanization (past, present, future) and the other being the ‘residents’ and what has happened historically is that the cities version of urbanization has never tolerated nor ‘met’ the residents at the ‘crossroad’. This is a declaration which speaks to a political and epistemological level, which creates a ‘new’ subject in terms of a group of people (the residents) who are not asking for ‘participation’ in terms of joining the existing political project of the city and having a say or an opinion, or even an equal vote. It is a type of ‘cultural’ declaration that defines the sensibility and epistemological ‘reality’ of the residents as different from the cities, essential and that to relate to this requires an attitude of ‘openess’, to some way of being and reality different than what the city is used to. This other reality has a different sense of time, structure or lack of, language, and essence which up to now has not been tolerated by the city or ‘met’ as a legitimate ‘other’ way of being and thinking, another reality than that of the cities. This text works to change the ‘terms’ of the conversation and can be read as a rejection of assimilation and a demand for recognition as another and equally valid reality than that which the city operates and thinks. It is a political challenge to move the debate from a ‘uni-center- to a plural center in which two realities could dialogue and ‘meet’ to create ways of working together (urban restructuring) in which there was space for different realities or ‘worlds’. The text works to redefine space and power relations by circumscribing the city as ‘one’ version, reality of the culture and city and claims the existence of other realities, that would need to be related to is the city was really interested in ‘participation’, type 2, which in essence is a demand for dialogue from one ‘reality to another’ rather than assimilation. 3. THEME THREE: COMMUNITY AND/OR DIVISIONS? ‘Yo creo en estos cuatro años nos hemos puesto de acuerdo como tenían que ser esos cambios para precisamente mantener la Barceloneta como barrio y el interior del barrio tanto lo que se refiere a viviendas, como el tejido comercial como a urbanización. Lo veo con que hemos sabido poner las bases del futuro, un futuro interesante para la Barceloneta’. - CM. Regidor de la cuitat vella. 2007 . The text supposes the city as having the right and responsibility to ‘maintain’ la Barceloneta as a ‘barrio’ (implying the social network). Written from the voice of the city, the mediator celebrates that the city has done so well supporting and maintaining the neighbourhood’s community social and commercial structure. The text declares that the city has known how to put the bases needed for the future, an ‘interesting’ future for the neighbourhood. Text ….Todo lo que tiene que hacer, tiene que hacer con la Ayuntamiento, todo tiene que hacer de sus normas, no deja la libertad…Veo la playa más bonito, y hotel Vela,….si quieres hacer algo colectivo, el ayuntamiento tiene que hacerlo. El centro civico, sabes que es….a las mujeres llegan y dicen bueno, hoy toca la postura, hoy tocaba bailes, hoy toca ….? Es un sitio en que no te encuentras libre.-----o hay espacios en que si tienes menos de 60 años no puedes entrar, porque una persona joven no puede entrar un espacio para la gente mayor? Esta persona joven puede dar la vida a esta persona mayor,…..y tiene moco,….pero es bueno que la gente joven pueden ver que tiene moco, normal que te caigan moco. Ah, no, protege. Y porque, no entiendo? Separados.---los niños no pueden entrar. Al ayuntamiento quieren controlar todo, y cuando encontraran gente que no puede controlar,….whew! Ellos tienen miedo. -Activista en contra del Plan (2009) The voice is of a resident and activist who comments about the relationship between the city government and the residents in the neighbourhood. The commentary centers around the fact that the city government controls the one large collective meeting place in the neighbourhood, the civic center, that everything collective has to be approved and managed by the city government . The text then develops this further by speaking about the way in which the cities separates residents, firstly addressing the issue of separating older people from younger children to ‘protect them’, then it infers that the city is ‘afraid’ of all people that it can not ‘control’. Analysis The criticism refers to the right to manage and the way of managing spaces and people. The opposing text asks ‘why?’ and hypothesises that the reason for separating ages is due to fear of something; disease, accidents, etc? This can be read as an issue which many Western cultures face, that their institutions for management reasons create separations between groups and community members due to age, ability, sex, and create certain city spaces by producing ‘norms’ to manage difference (for example in terms of people who act strange, who drink a lot and those who disturb business activity). Voting as division The city government identifies itself as the institution responsible for forming decision making processes in terms of urban planning. They have developed norms for what they define as political participation. These norms are both formal (legislated) and informal (framed in jargon in planning documents that have no clear formal structure) and thus become contentious in terms of how the decisions are made which will concretely impact the residents. Initially in the ‘elevator plan’ the city proposed a ‘voting’ strategy in which the property owners of each building vote to decide whether they would tear out particular flats and construct an elevator in the section left vacant. It became known as the ‘51% rule’ as the plan designated that there would be a vote among the residents of each building and the majority would prevail. There was opposition over this decision making strategy for various reasons; the fact that only those residents who were property owners would have the right to vote, so the large percentage of older residents might be excluded as they had long term rental contracts and were not technically owners (although they may have lived there for generations). A majority win voting process meant also that the residents of any particular building were put in the position of choosing sides, and it set up a competitive process in which wealthier property owners who were renting their apartments might be more likely to be in favour of the Plan while single owners who lived in their residents had less to gain from an elevator being placed in their building. This was complicated by the fact that the elevator construction would be costly and part of the funds would have to be provided by the property owners themselves. For property developers the idea of receiving city funds for the upgrading of older buildings was ideal and perhaps would also increase the likely hood of investment opportunities. The text on voting becomes another normative measure of the cities. It again produces the city as the rightful designer of how decision making ought to occur and creates a normative procedure based on voting as a type of ‘democratic’ form of regulating relationships. On one level the residents are pushed to choose between the polarity of being ‘for’ or ‘against’ the reforms and then put in a competitive situation where they will have what the want if they gather a majority of their neighbours ‘votes’. To vote on a major complex issue also prioritizes making a decision over discussion and in terms of community it is a type of intervention that divides populations. Text …una operación de estas características no se puede hacer solo con el 50% más uno, sino que requiere 4/5 partes de acuerdo por parte de la gente…la gente podría tranquilizarse más y a partir de ahí negociar elementos claves que necesitan ser negociados. - Eva Fernández. Presidenta de la Federación de Asociaciones de Vecinos de Barcelona. This text rejects the idea of a majority vote and suggests a type of consensus where only when you reach an 80% majority can you go ahead with an operation. The text is speaking to the ‘public’ and suggesting that the residents are stressed by the voting process and would be more relaxed knowing that they will have to work things out to gain a more general agreed upon approach rather than potentially have a major conflict between two large groups of residents. Needing more of a consensus then encourages negotiation on the issues that are important and ‘need’ to be negotiated. Analysis The strategy of the city to structure a majority wins vote within each building can be read as perhaps an efficient form of moving urban restructuring forward, but potentially a process which then can lead to a more divided community. Another reading could be that the cities strategy is a form of governance and effectively divides the community strength so that the city can push forward its desired plan. The expression ‘divide and conquer’ doesn’t capture necessarily the cities approach nor its desire, but for professional politicians and planners to design an urban intervention this way seems blatantly flawed if your priority was supporting the community of la Barcleoneta. A more critical reading would be that the new urban restructuring politics is in essence a form of recuperation into existing political power structures, thus will favour those who may benefit from this assimilation and ‘privatization’ of the neighbourhood. Crisis: coming together, coming apart? When I asked one of the opposing activists about how the ‘economic crisis’ was effecting relationships between the neighbours she reported what you can hear from many residents, that actually the crisis is not only negative, that it also brings people together and they become more cooperative. Voy a la plaza,…..mercado. Comprado el pollo,…una mujer estaba quejando. Baja el nivel para comprar. Ahora la gente esta compartiendo más, bajando el nivel. Qué necesita más y comparten más. Un vecino .un historia.-----de un chico que esta justo cada mes y ahora la gente tiene más compasión por la dificultad. Bajo un poco. Compra ropa, peluqueria…acercan más. Una chica que estaba mal. Viven por 450 euros, cobran 800 euros. Paga 500 para alquilar. Su madre murió y tiene que quedar en una fosa común. No teníamos (en nuestra asociación), hablamos con un dueño de un restaurante,….pagan. Fui a S., pidiendo los dueños y todos los vecinos han dado dinero para enterar la madre de esta vecino. Con la crisis, la gente nota. Cambia la consciencia. Sacar la patria. -Resident of la Barceloneta (2009) 4. THEME FOUR: Spatializing distance and scale in relationships Any discussion about urbanization involves scaling in terms of space, time and place. The tendency can be for ‘common’ or dominant scalings to become naturalized so that they appear not as scaled, but as given, ‘true’, or ‘modern’. How space, time and place are scaled are dimensions of all geo-political debates and worth considering in part because the issue of ‘producing’ space is in itself a different epistemological point of departure and trajectory which has the potential to open up new political ‘spaces’. In the case of urban debates in Western Europe, neoliberal (re)scaling is important to consider in how power relations are considered, assessed, and developed. As we have discussed in the earlier section on Barcelona’s city governments supportive texts, there is a tendency to use globalization as a term used to refer to the shifts in the global market and as a ‘given’ process in which the city must react, rather than a process in which the city both participates and creates. This is important because ‘globalization’ is used to imply some inevitable process it can be used as merely an invisibilization of the policies and practices which create neoliberal markets and the repositioning of the State. The opposing texts to the ‘elevator’ Plan can also be connected to the changing relationships between the city, the State and international markets. For residents, the question of the liberalization of the market (neoliberalism) has a lot to do with how they conceptualize the scale of their struggle, with potentials to open up new questions concerning power relations and the urban agendas of the city. In la Barceloneta the issues surrounding the ‘elevator’ Plan were on one level discussed on a very local level; how the plaza, market or built environment would be restructured. The issue was not power relations per se for those in favour of the changes, in fact the changes were seen often as positive because they made Barcelona a more ‘attractive and competitive city’ and the question was not about identifying how power relations were intervening in their lives, but how to win at the competitive game of ‘globalization’ or neoliberal western economy. But for those opposing the cities plans there was an essential question surrounding how to think about what was happening to figure out how to modify or change it. Was the cities intervention a local phenomena or part of a wider systemic change? Who was driving these types of urban restructuring and with what logic, or why was it happening the way it was? If the restructuring plans of the city government of Barcelona were being driven from larger forces, such as the liberalization of the market, then what would that mean for urban social movements interested in regaining more independence and the right to decide how their neighbourhoods develop? If the city was orienting off market needs in terms of urban restructuring, or if the ‘neoliberalizing’ of the market meant the city and the state have less control over the market, then how could they pretend to protect the residents? Or would the market itself bring prosperity and in essence the residents would all be better off? We earlier looked at the city text which presented both their philosophy that the world was becoming globlalized, thus the city needed to compete successfully to survive, and the idea that the public sector could work with the private sector toward a ‘happy’ compromise. The cities mediator was contradictory in stating that the private sector was a destructive force that the residents together with the city could face. In the case of la Barceloneta new alliances were formed with political groups clearly interested in not defining the issues as just local, but in making connections between the local struggles occurring and the larger European and international shifts in neoliberalizing the economy. Text ‘Hay dinámicas diferentes en las asociaciones y además hemos pasado de una situación en la que los conflictos se daban en el barrio, quedaban dentro de la dimensión del barrio, a un momento en que los conflictos que hay en Barcelona se dimensionan en otros ámbitos mucho más global, incluso se internacionalizan los conflictos.’ - President of the FAVB (2007). La Barceloneta In this text there is the voice of history and of a perspective of the different associations presented by the president of the neighbourhood associations. The historical comment is that the time has passed where the local urban conflicts stayed in the scale of the neighbourhood, now they are in dimensions in other places and larger scales including the international level. This is a type of call toward a shift in perspective, the object is ‘the analysis’ itself in how the conflicts should be thought about, and perhaps implied is how it should be dealt with. In the case of la Barceloneta an interesting new political alliance formed between the ‘opposition’ groups in the neighbourhood and an urban activist group in Barcelona, called KRAX which was a center for urban activism, exchanging information, organizing conferences and seminars between urban activist groups around the globe and particularly in Western Europe. The exchange between the groups KRAX was significant because it became one form of connection between the local urban debates that were happening and the wider political and social context in ‘global’ terms. A good example of this was when in April of 2007 urban research and activist organization called KRAX in coordination with the occupied house (Miles de Viviendas) and the local opposing neighbourhood associations a meeting with urban activists from around the world to discuss new urban social movements. One of the neighbourhoods they ‘toured’ was ‘la Barceloneta’ and the members of the association were the tour leaders. This was significant in many ways; one being the perspective of the relationship between the challenges facing the local communities and how they were shared challenges all over the world, also the networking that was occurring between residents and various activists in other parts of the world, and thirdly the recognition and sense of unity in which the seminar generated as a means of support for the local battles that the residents were engaged in. During the seminar examples of how other neighbourhoods were mounting social movements to reclaim rights and urban spaces were shared and discussed. Text Desde el año 2004 y con base en Barcelona, KRAX investiga, local y globalmente, las herramientas creativas de resistencia y transformación social que individuos, colectivos y espacios socio-culturales utilizan para cuestionar y construir nuevas identidades culturales y políticas. Estimulamos a diversas iniciativas urbanas conectándolas para intercambiar experiencias, empoderándolas a través del conocimiento de nuevas y diferentes formas de reflexión, actuación y organización y vinculándolas en nuevos proyectos y retos. Nos proponemos influir en la agenda de las administraciones públicas y de instituciones políticas, para poder así implicar a los movimientos urbanos en los procesos de definición y construcción de la ciudad. Creemos y buscamos los puntos de inflexión y desarrollo en los que cultura, política y urbanismo se tornan participativos, inclusivos y se formulan de abajo hacia arriba. Desde KRAX investigamos y fortalecemos las diferentes posibilidades de crear ciudad. Website of Krax/Citymine (Appendix II) In the introductory text for the KRAX organization it defines its organization as a research institute for both local and global levels focusing on the study of creative tools of social resistance and transformation and the use of social cultural space to question and construct new cultural identities and politics. The organization is interested in connecting diverse initiatives to exchange experiences, to empower each other through new forms of knowledge and reflection, action and organization and entering them in new projects and challenges. The text continues by stating that the organization proposes (as a goal) to influence the agendas of the public administrations and political institutions to be able to make urban social movements a part of the decision making process of how the city is constructed. They believe and look for points of ‘inflection’ and development in which culture, politics, and urbanization become participative, inclusive and formulate from ‘below’ towards the ‘top’. The organization KRAX investigates and fortifies different possibilities to create the city. The text is a declaration of its identity, purpose, and mission. It is significant to our study because a close relationship developed between this organization and the opposing associations in the neighbourhood of la Barceloneta. This alliance was significant on a practical level for many reasons; it terms of ‘text’ it shifted the scale of the debate towards a type of internationalization, it brought in a supportive group of urban activists from other parts of Barcelona into the debates in the neighbourhood, and it publicized the issues in la Barceloneta to a much broader audience including an international urban activist network who exchanged experiences with the residents about ‘similar’ struggles in their cities and neighbourhoods. It created a type of solidarity and shifted the identity of all involved. The text is a statement towards all those involved in urban social debates. It makes the object of ‘the conflict’ an international one, and in this way changes the ‘terms of the debate’. This reformulates the residents as parts of ‘resistance’ and the opposition shifts from the ‘city government’ to the social political local and international forces of which the city are a part of. It makes the object of resistance ‘a system of power relations’ as well as particular city government which is a part of that system. The text then works to objectify ‘cityspace’ as an object which can be used to explore not only political resistance, but social and cultural ‘transformation’ and new identities. So the objective itself of the resistance is a transformative politics of not only urban built space, but of the politics of identity and culture. These terms have meanings which can be read within critical academic jargon and theory, which work to see the urban intervention, in this case the city of Barcelona as not only as a process of changing built structures, but as a strategy of governance, control and regulation. When the organization uses the term identity and cultural politics, this can be read as implying that urban restructuring is not merely a struggle over how urban space will be transformed, but how identitiies and cultures themselves are transformed. Thus the resistance to the cities urban ‘elevator’ plan could have a new form of analysis, as part of a global system of power which works to not only transform urban built space, but to transform ‘subjects’, identities and cultures to be assimilated into these transformations. The text continues to make a subjective alliance between groups in conflict with their city governments urban plans. It is a solidarity claim that pushes to make a ‘we’ out of the local identities of the opposing groups, to say ‘we’ have something in common, a struggle to ‘become a part of’ urban decision making processes and politics and to ‘create’ new alternatives through ‘new’ forms of knowledge . This implies that those groups have not been a part of the urban planning schemes and that the options available in terms of urban development or politics should be opened up to explore and investigate new ways of ‘doing things’. This text reads also as a call toward ‘exploration’ in terms of space, identity and culture, as an interactive productive act rather than a search for any fixed object. In contrast to speaking of the residents of la Barceloneta as an ‘other’ in contrast to the cities ‘political culture’, the text creates a kind of plural open space where any agent might be able to ‘produce’ cityspace. The issue in terms of the cities politics is the demand to the right to participate in the ‘creative’ and political process of making the city, as well as define who and what constitutes identities and cultures and urban possibilities both technical and spatially. APPENDIX I La Barceloneta Primera piedra Febrero de 1753. La Barceloneta en Cifras (2000) 15,192 poblaciones 26.4% de la población del barrio (4,000), supera los 65 años-casi la mitad tenía más de 85 años (Municipal de Barcelona, 2000). 31.7% de las personas viven solas. 48.15 metros cuadrados es la superficie media de la viviendas, un 37% inferior a la media de la cuidad. 60% de las viviendas del barrio, (5039) disponen de un máximo de 32 metros cuadrados. 55.7% de las viviendas son de alquiler. 88% de las viviendas no tiene ascensor. Casi 90% de las casas carecen de ascensor y la mayoría de las escaleras son demasiado estrechas y peligrosos (La Vanguardia Jueves 30 Diciembre, 2004). 1,424 viviendas están desocupadas 21.7% de las plantas bajas están vacías 79.5% de los vecinos no aceptaría cambiar de barrio 63.48% de la media es la capacidad adquisitiva familiar del barrio 30% de la población adulta padece analfabetismo funcional. €132.000 Por 28 metros cuadrados habitables en un tercer piso, sin ascensor 2003 el barrio tuvo su cumple de 250 años. ‘Quarts de casa’ son minipisos de 35 metros construidos en 25 metro cuadrados’. APPENDIX II http://www.fomentciutatvella.net/esp/quisom/accionarat.asp Accionariado La sociedad mixta se formó a partir de un capital social inicial de seis millones de euros (mil millones de pesetas en 2001). El capital de procedencia pública, llamado de serie A, es de un 60% del total, mientras el 40% restante proviene del capital privado, llamado de serie B. Dentro de la serie A, el Ajuntament de Barcelona aportó inicialmente el 51% del capital que otorga a la sociedad el carácter de municipal dentro de la definición global de empresa municipal de economía mixta. En 2004, estas acciones fueron transferidas a la sociedad privada municipal BIMSA (Barcelona Infraestructures Municipals, S.A.). El resto del capital público lo aportó la Diputació de Barcelona, segunda institución pública implicada en la creación de la sociedad. La serie B, correspondiente a la aportación del capital privado, tiene como agentes a varias entidades financieras y empresas de servicios implicadas e interesadas en la rehabilitación y la modernización del núcleo histórico de Barcelona. Destaca la presencia de la sociedad Iniciativa per a la Recuperació de Ciutat Vella, creada con el objetivo de promover la revitalización comercial del centro histórico de Barcelona. Composición del accionariado de Foment de Ciutat Vella, S.A.: Accionistas € % BIMSA 3.065.100 51.0 % Diputació de Barcelona 540.900 9.0 % Caixa d'Estalvis i Pensions de Barcelona (Caixa Holding S.A.) 751.250 12.5 % Banco Bilbao-Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. 601.000 10.0 % Caixa de Catalunya (Invercartera, S.A.) 420.700 7.0 % Telefónica Soluciones Sectoriales S.A. 300.500 5.0 % SABA Aparcamientos S.A. 180.300 3.0 % Iniciativa per a la Recuperació de Ciutat Vella, S.L. 150.250 2.5 % Total APPENDIX http://www.barcelonetasuites.com/index.php?lang=cat&page=2 Tots els apartaments són completament nous, moderns i equipats amb tot el necessari per una estada agradable de vacances o negocis. Un dormitori separat amb llit de matrimoni molt comfortable, bany d'estil modern, cuina equipada per cuinar i mantenir begudes fredes, rentadora, menjador amb taula per a 3 persones, sofà-llit doble, TV amb satèl•lit i DVD/CD, Internet amb connexió WiFi i A/A a tot l'apartament. Els apartaments 1-5 tenen balcó propi. Sense ascensor. La terrassa ofereix unes vistes panoràmiques de tota la ciutat i l'ús se'n reserva en exclusiva als nostres clients. Es facilitarà llençols i tovalloles netes. Carmen (1er pis) 1 habitació amb llit doble. 1 sofà-llit doble. Cuina totalment equipada. Bany. Balcó privat. Capacitat: 3. Preu (1-2 persones): Dia 80,2 € Semana 481,50€ Mes 1.337,50 € Mapa APPENDIX III The Alternative Urban Plan The Alternative Plan identifies that buildings, lots, underutilized spaces and bottom floor flats will be used to resolve the problems of mobility, y therefore to access the residences that is exactly what a part of the neighbourhood has. In this way it would not be necessary to eliminate any residences or destroy property to install elevators . (Pg.6; March, 2007). Working with a series of organizations including Architects without Borders, a lawyer which they hired, and a number of academic and political activist groups, the three groups mentioned earlier formulated an alternative plan and presented it to the residents and to the city government. Basically the Alternative Plan calls for: 1. To use the lower apartments that are vacant or underutilized to move the older or disabled people that have difficulty negotiating the lack of elevators. 2. The vacant lots be destine for the residents of the neighbourhood that need housing. 3. The occupied house (Miles de Viviendas) will have a social and meeting area for the neighbourhood. 4. The priority would be the preservation of the historic character of the neighbourhood. Appendix IV Hotel Vella En octubre de 2009 está prevista la inauguración del Hotel Vela de Barcelona, uno de esos proyectos megalómanos con datos que se explican solos: La Ley de Costas prohíbe la construcción de edificaciones en un radio de 100 metros de la línea litoral, mientras que el Hotel Vela está situado a 20 metros en un terreno “ganado al mar”. El Ayuntamiento de Barcelona hizo derribar los antiguos “chiringuitos” populares de la Barceloneta con la justificación del cumplimiento de la Ley de Costas. Estos “chiringuitos” tenían una planta y estaban situadas muchos más lejos de la línea litoral que el Hotel Vela. La construcción del Hotel Vela implica la modificación de todo el sector de la playa que va del Club Natació hasta el actual rompeolas. Se acabará con el último trozo de playa “salvaje” que aún queda en Barcelona. El Hotel Vela pertenece a la cadena hotelera norteamericana Starwood, que figura entre las diez más grandes del mundo y está especializada en la adquisición y/o gestión de hoteles de lujo. Que en 2008 Starwood poseía o gestionaba 942 hoteles en 100 países con un total de 285.000 habitaciones y más de 145.000 empleados. Algunos de sus hoteles de lujo se encuentran en sitios tan apropiados como Bombay o Kuala Lumpur. La habitación más barata del Hotel Vela vale 289 euros la noche. La abertura del Hotel Vela provocará la sustitución de muchas tiendas tradicionales del barrio de la Barceloneta por tiendas de franquicias de multinacionales, galerías y otros negocios presuntamente sofisticados, mientras muchos bares y restaurantes populares se convertirán en bares de copas de alto standing. Más información en: www.hotelvelabarcelona.com APPENDIX V KRAX http://krax.citymined.org/index.php/es/about-krax KRAX es un nodo de reflexión, encuentro y acción sobre la implicación y la apropiación ciudadana en la construcción de la ciudad. Marcamos la importancia, fuerza y carácter innovador de las iniciativas autónomas y urbanas, locales e internacionales, para formular nuevas prácticas y visiones creativas en el desarrollo social, cultural y económico. KRAX viene del concepto de “cracks in the city”. Es en estas grietas que surgen ante un conflicto o carencia urbana donde se observan respuestas y planteamientos innovadores provenientes desde los mismos ciudadanos, con nuevas formas de pensar, organizar y visibilizar la riqueza y deseos de la ciudad. Desde el año 2004 y con base en Barcelona, KRAX investiga, local y globalmente, las herramientas creativas de resistencia y transformación social que individuos, colectivos y espacios socio-culturales utilizan para cuestionar y construir nuevas identidades culturales y políticas. Estimulamos a diversas iniciativas urbanas conectándolas para intercambiar experiencias, empoderándolas a través del conocimiento de nuevas y diferentes formas de reflexión, actuación y organización y vinculándolas en nuevos proyectos y retos. Nos proponemos influir en la agenda de las administraciones públicas y de instituciones políticas, para poder así implicar a los movimientos urbanos en los procesos de definición y construcción de la ciudad. Creemos y buscamos los puntos de inflexión y desarrollo en los que cultura, política y urbanismo se tornan participativos, inclusivos y se formulan de abajo hacia arriba. Desde KRAX investigamos y fortalecemos las diferentes posibilidades de crear ciudad. JORNADAS 2007 Las primeras Jornadas KRAX tuvieron lugar del 24 al 28 de Abril de 2007, en RAI (Recursos d'Animació Intercultural), c/Carders 13, Barcelona. En este primer encuentro invitamos diversas iniciativas de barrios atravesando cambios urbanísticos de Barcelona y de otras ciudades, así como activistas, investigadores, artistas o dinamizadores sociales, para reflexionar alrededor del concepto de la “creatividad urbana”: aquéllas respuestas -innovadoras, creativas, participativas- que surgen desde los mismos ciudadanos ante los cambios y conflictos en su contexto. Nos enfocamos en las propuestas creativas en tres conflictos urbanos de Barcelona (Plaça Lesseps, Barceloneta y Raval) e invitamos a grupos similares activos en otras ciudades (Sevilla, Tokyo, Bruselas, Mostar, Londres, Caracas, Málaga, Buenos Aires…). Todas estas iniciativas aprendieron de sus diferentes formas de reflexión, organización y acción. El encuentro actuó como un intercambio y diálogo sobre la importancia y la necesidad de permitir e involucrar la creatividad social en los procesos de transformación en la ciudad. El programa de las Jornadas KRAX 2007 consistió en debates, talleres, presentaciones de las iniciativas invitadas, visitas guiadas en los barrios y encuentros con las iniciativas locales y la presentación del Centro de Documentación (“la Zona KRAX”) con el material compilado durante la investigación. »Viernes 27 Abril: La BARCELONETA es un barrio marinero y popular fundado en 1753. En 2006 se presenta un plan de reforma que prevé la instalación de ascensores en edificios centenarios. Sólo con la conformidad del 50%+1 de los propietarios de una finca, las obras se podrán llevar a cabo. Conflictos vecinales, incertidumbre y sospechas especulativas se unen a multitud de dudas sobre cómo y de qué manera se desarrollará una “reforma” en cuyo diseño los vecinos todavía no han tenido voz. APPENDIX VI Rueda de prensa de presentación del plan alternativo de la Barceloneta y en apoyo a Miles de Viviendas http://www.sindominio.net/miles/?q=node/228 By emma - Posted on 02 Mayo 2007 Demà 3 de maig a les 11h del matí hi ha una roda de premsa convocada per Miles, la Plataforma de Veïns en Defensa de la Barceloneta i l'AAVV de l'Òstia, on també intervindran Manel Delgado i Arquitectes sense Fronteres. Amb aquesta convocatòria es pretén fer públic el suport veïnal a la continuïtat del centre social okupat Miles de Viviendas, en perill imminent de desallotjament; així com exigir la conservació de l'històric edifici, que està amenaçat per una ordre d'enderroc a executar immediatament -després de la policia, entraran tot seguit els paletes i els bulldozers. Aquestes demandes s'emmarquen en un pla alternatiu per a la Barceloneta que s'està elaborant des de la Plataforma de veïns i que, contràriament al “pla dels ascensors” de l'Ajuntament, contempla la creació al barri d'espais d'ús col•lectiu, i que per descomptat no accepta la destrucció d'immobles ni l'expulsió de veïns per fer lloc a turistes i gent de pasta. APPENDIX VII ALTERNATIVE PLAN http://labarcelonetaambelaiguaalcoll.blogspot.com/ Barceloneta, Plan B L’Ostia y la Plataforma en Defensa de La Barceloneta (2007) La Barceloneta es, prácticamente, lo que queda por entregar al mercado del centro histórico de Barcelona. Después de la agresiva "reforma" del Gòtic, La Ribera o El Raval -donde aún puede comprobarse la violencia urbanística allí donde quede un rincón por "renovar" y reurbanizar-, este barrio parece destinado a convertirse en el broche de un urbanismo de gravísimas consecuencias sociales, económicas y patrimoniales. Un modelo de acción urbanística que, pese a todo, hoy sigue siendo incuestionable para los partidos con representación municipal, tal y como lo expresó el voto casi unánime y acrítico de los grupos políticos, en febrero y marzo pasados, a la “Modificación del PGM para la regulación de la edificación tradicional de la Barceloneta”. •• La Barceloneta necesita un Plan B A los colectivos, entidades, técnicos y personalidades que subscribimos este documento, la experiencia acumulada en los últimos años nos obliga a pronunciarnos por una resolución que tenga como objetivo evitar hoy, cuando aún se está a tiempo, que se reproduzcan en La Barceloneta los mismos hechos y las mismas prácticas que hemos tenido que ver y afrontar, con impotencia la mayoría de las veces, en los últimos años. Este barrio, y en él todos sus habitantes sin excepción, necesitan una mejora urgente de sus condiciones de vida; pero lo que no podemos permitirnos bajo ningún concepto es que, por enésima vez, una reforma se vuelva a convertir en la destrucción social y urbanística de la zona, en su entrega a las leyes del mercado, y en la expulsión más o menos encubierta de sus vecinos. Desde esta premisa básica, consideramos que La Barceloneta requiere de un Plan B, tanto respecto a las carencias y los riesgos específicos que vamos a exponer, como respecto a la política urbanística ya conocida y que, el Programa de Rehabilitació de l'Habitatge de la Barceloneta, lejos de enmendarla la empeora en algunos de sus planteamientos. •• El “Plan de los ascensores” no cuenta con el apoyo social suficiente y es técnicamente poco riguroso La Modificación del PGM, el denominado “Plan de los Ascensores”, se aprobó de forma provisional el 23 de febrero 2007 y definitivamente en mayo del mismo año, sin tener en cuenta las críticas y las inquietudes vecinales. Este proyecto no cuenta, actualmente, con el apoyo de importantes sectores del barrio, que se han manifestado sistemáticamente en contra, tanto antes como después de ser aprobado. Por otra parte, las entidades que hoy, desde una postura posibilista, han aceptado el plan como un marco de actuación inevitable, lo criticaron durante meses y llegaron a presentar importantes alegaciones, hasta el día mismo de su aprobación. De la misma manera, el plan no está respaldado por los estudios rigurosos indispensables para un análisis y comprensión de la situación. El documento elaborado por los técnicos del Ayuntamiento, se justifica a sí mismo prescindiendo de los informes preceptivos con los que habría de contrastarse si ésa es o no el tipo de reforma que el barrio necesita. Sin los estudios de impacto social, patrimonial, técnico-estructural, económico y legal, y sin un proceso participativo real y de calidad, el plan es absolutamente insostenible, teniendo en cuenta que afectará, directa o indirectamente, a la vida cotidiana y el futuro de un barrio de más de 15.000 habitantes. A estos vacíos hay que añadir el nuevo rol que la administración quiere jugar en este caso y que, lejos de mejorar los modelos de intervención institucional conocidos hasta ahora, elige uno que provoca mayores incertidumbres. Una vez en marcha el plan, el Ayuntamiento y FOCIVESA no se harán responsables de las actuaciones concretas; sólo se limitarán a financiarlas a través de ayudas a la rehabilitación, o gestionarán sus consecuencias desagradables vía realojo o subvenciones al alquiler. De esta manera, el Ayuntamiento disminuye de forma drástica su campo de responsabilidad; se desentiende de aspectos técnicos tan importantes como la modificación estructural de las fincas, y de hecho se da de baja como interlocutor político, dando lugar a un vacío de responsabilidad hasta ahora inédito. Todo junto significa, en la práctica, la supresión del PERI de 1985, no sólo de sus contenidos sino también de un sistema de trabajo y elaboración particularmente riguroso y sensible a las necesidades reales del barrio. El diálogo entre los vecinos, las entidades y los técnicos responsables por una parte, y el amplio y detallado trabajo de campo, que mediante encuestas de evaluación social, patrimonial, económica y de régimen de propiedad, consiguió hacer un dibujo fiel de La Barceloneta y sus exigencias; tiene poco que ver con el contenido y la visión extremadamente superficiales del vigente “Plan de los Ascensores”. •• Los puntos negros del “Plan de los Ascensores” En líneas generales, la estrategia de actuación aprobada para el Programa de Rehabilitació de l'Habitatge de la Barceloneta, deja en manos del propietario o los propietarios de cada finca, la aprobación, gestión y ejecución de los denominados PEMU (Pla Especial de Millora Urbana). En sus diferentes aspectos, esto no contribuye a ofrecer más seguridad y garantías a los vecinos peor situados, sino todo lo contrarío. De ejecutarse el planeamiento con los mecanismos anunciados, son de esperar importantes y profundas consecuencias, que afectarían de manera directa la vida cotidiana y los derechos sociales y jurídicos de la mayoría de los habitantes de La Barceloneta. Estos puntos negros son los siguientes: - El criterio "por cada finca un plan" propicia zonas de alegalidad. Al no establecer unos principios comunes y unitarios que sean obligatorios para todas las fincas, será imposible identificar con un baremo objetivo los abusos, fraudes e ilegalidades que se produzcan en cualquiera de las etapas de ejecución del plan. Eso sólo puede derivar en un contexto de descontrol e impunidad jurídica y social. ¿O se espera, acaso, que cada vecino conozca el plan, las leyes, y además tenga las fuerzas, el tiempo y el dinero para soportar un proceso judicial si se da el caso? - Deja el plan en manos de una parte de los propietarios. El principio de mayoría simple, el 50%+1, deja en manos de una parte de los propietarios la capacidad y la legitimidad para decidir, y elimina cualquier posibilidad de elección por parte de los inquilinos. Estos, habrán de soportar de manera pasiva decisiones que afectan directamente a su vida y su destino; algo que, en definitiva, los relega a ser vecinos de segunda clase en lo que respecta al desarrollo del plan. En un barrio donde el 55% de sus habitantes son arrendatarios y donde la mitad de las fincas son de un solo titular, se le niega voz y voto a más de la mitad de sus habitantes, y establece una lógica de enfrentamiento entre propietarios, entre inquilinos y propietarios, entre vecinos en general, de consecuencias sociales incalculables pero fáciles de prever. - No reconoce los derechos e intereses de los vecinos con contratos LAU. El proceso de revalorización de La Barceloneta que hoy ya apuntan algunos datos y hechos, puede suponer, en no mucho tiempo, la expulsión tanto de los jóvenes nacidos en el barrio como de los nuevos vecinos que en los últimos años se han instalado en él. Estos dos grupos, que son arrendatarios de contratos LAU, podrían ser una de las claves para sostener una estructura social cohesionada e impedir el proceso de tematización y turistificación que ya hoy se está produciendo. Pero, pese a ello, han sido obviados durante todo el trámite de aprobación del plan, y hoy siguen siendo invisibles para los técnicos y los políticos. - No reconoce el derecho de arraigo de los vecinos en su entorno y su comunidad. Pese a la afirmación de que "nadie saldrá perjudicado" y que los realojos se realizarán en el interior del barrio, cabe señalar que, cuando se habla de barrio no se habla solamente de una demarcación geográfica más o menos flexible, y cuando se habla de vecinos no se habla de paquetes desplazables y amontonables en cualquier lugar. Se habla de una comunidad y, por tanto, cualquier reubicación que se realice sin tener en cuenta las redes sociales que permiten su existencia y calidad de vida, sobre todo en el caso de las personas de mayor edad, seguirá provocando un daño irreparable a los afectados. - Excluye una visión global de las necesidades reales La Barceloneta. El plan se limita, en exclusiva, a la modificación estructural de las fincas, sin comprender otros elementos imprescindibles para mejorar la vida de sus habitantes. La Barceloneta es un área con deficiencias y riesgos importantes, donde es necesario contrarrestar el peso de la economía y el comercio asociados al turismo, y donde urgen equipamientos de barrio para reforzar la cohesión social y la vida comunitaria. Pero los equipamientos, el comercio, el espacio público o las redes sociales, quedan fuera del planeamiento, pese a que serán decisivos en la evolución social y urbana a corto y medio plazo. - La Ley de Barrios, la única fuente financiera con la que se cuenta hasta ahora, es insegura e insuficiente. Durante los meses de explicación y publicitación del plan, y posteriormente, se ha citado esta figura como la palanca económica decisiva para llevar a cabo una reforma de calidad. Pero, el hecho de que en la última convocatoria la solicitud de La Barceloneta haya sido denegada por las autoridades responsables, convierte esa posibilidad en una hipótesis insegura y sobre la que no puede asentarse ninguna propuesta presupuestaria seria. Por otra parte, el propio articulado de la ley, que limita a 20 millones de euros la asignación máxima de cada barrio, supondría una media de 4.000 euros para cada vivienda, una cantidad que, obviamente, no alcanza para realizar las obras de mejora que se requieren. •• Propuestas para un Plan B Una futura reforma sólo puede basarse en una concepción radicalmente diferente respecto a este plan y respecto a la práctica urbanística llevada a cabo hasta ahora. Los derechos sociales, comunitarios y jurídicos de los vecinos, han de respetarse como figuras innegociables, insustituibles, y de ninguna manera intercambiables entre sí, y deben reflejarse en una serie de medidas concretas, como las siguientes: 1. Abrir un amplio proceso de participación y debate - Generando las condiciones y los canales que permitan un proceso de discusión en el seno del barrio, y un diálogo real y efectivo entre todas las entidades vecinales y la administración. Es en este ámbito donde deben definirse las necesidades concretas en materia habitacional, de infraestructuras y de espacio público, con los siguientes requisitos: a) El único objetivo legítimo es mejorar la calidad de vida de la población actual de La Barceloneta. b) La participación en igualdad de condiciones de todos los habitantes del barrio, por encima de su condición de inquilinos o propietarios. c) Que la voz de los vecinos y sus opiniones tengan una incidencia palpable en los contenidos del plan, y que les dé capacidad de control y seguimiento sobre su aplicación. - Constituyendo de una mesa de estudio y seguimiento, que integre a todas las entidades de La Barceloneta, incluyendo técnicos independientes designados por éstas, y cuyas denuncias en torno a irregularidades e incumplimientos sean vinculantes, obligando a las administraciones a investigar y actuar legalmente. 2. Elaboración de los estudios preliminares necesarios para conocer el impacto de la reforma y las necesidades que ha de cubrir. - Un estudio de impacto sociológico, que permita prevenir y evitar las consecuencias sociales ya conocidas en otros procesos de reforma urbanística. - Una memoria social y un censo actualizado, a partir del que confeccionar un proyecto cuyo único fin sea mejorar la calidad de vida de la población actual de La Barceloneta, tanto en sus viviendas como en el espacio público. - Un estudio de impacto urbanístico y arquitectónico, que a la vez que defina los riesgos de la reforma para la trama urbana y la arquitectura tradicional, ofrezca soluciones válidas para mejorar sin destruir. - Un estudio de patrimonio, que tutele el valor histórico, arquitectónico y urbanístico de la Barceloneta, teniendo en cuenta tanto el conjunto como cada edificación individual. Dicho estudio debería proponer una catalogación estricta y rigurosa, que vuelva a incluir las fincas descatalogadas recientemente, y que proteja los ejemplos de arquitectura tradicional que quedan, sin permitir, bajo ningún concepto, modificaciones referentes a la altura de la edificación o el trazado viario y sus dimensiones. - Un estudio técnico, que describa las patologías estructurales que afectan los edificios del barrio y permita definir: a) Un mapa de las patologías necesario para elaborar un listado de prioridades e intervenciones técnicas en el barrio; - Elaboración de prototipos de PEMUS, mediante varias propuestas de agrupación y ejecución, para conseguir una evaluación realista y ajustada de las intervenciones necesarias y sus implicaciones (consecuencias) arquitectónicas, estructurales y económicas. Junto a esto, debe ser necesario y obligatorio un estudio de impacto de cada PEMU. - Elaboración de un plan de equipamientos e infraestructuras de barrio, a partir de un documento elaborado por las entidades vecinales. - Un calendario de ejecución, que señale con claridad cuando comenzará la reforma, sus diferentes fases, y la fecha límite en la que debe finalizar. - Un informe económico y financiero, que desglose y detalle el coste de la reforma según sus diferentes etapas y tipos de intervención, y que incluya la cantidad y la procedencia de los fondos con los que ha de aplicarse. - Elaboración de un censo de edificios vacíos, tanto privados como propiedad de la administración, cotejando y compartiendo la información del Ayuntamiento con la de las entidades del barrio, para lograr un mapa fiel de las fincas fuera de uso. Una vez elaborado el censo, asignación de un presupuesto fijo anual y su inversión en la rehabilitación y acondicionamiento de dichos inmuebles, para gente mayor con problemas de movilidad. Como complemento de este mapa, es aconsejable el estudio de modelos de intervención alternativos, como posibles acuerdos entre administración y propietarios para establecer regímenes de utilización temporal de la propiedad. 3. Aspectos legales y administrativos mínimos para iniciar un proceso participativo: - Derogación del principio “por cada finca un plan” y supresión del 50%+1, dando reconocimiento a los arrendatarios (de renta antigua y de contrato LAU) como sujetos de derecho con intereses legítimos que han de ser tenidos en cuenta y protegidos. - Establecimiento de criterios comunes para la reforma de las fincas. En caso de llevarse a cabo modificaciones estructurales de los bloques, deben establecerse criterios estrictos y rigurosos de cómo ha de llevarse a cabo. Dichos criterios han de incluir, obligatoriamente y en pie de igualdad, elementos jurídicos, sociales, históricos y arquitectónicos. Y, en cualquier caso, la reforma debe garantizar al arraigo y la continuidad de los vecinos en su entorno y su comunidad, y dentro del perímetro actual de La Barceloneta. - Declaración de toda el área de La Barceloneta como zona de tanteo y retracto. Para que esta medida sea realmente efectiva, requiere al menos de tres elementos: a) La asignación de un presupuesto anual de las tres administraciones (local, autonómica y estatal) dedicado a su ejecución. b) La firma de un convenio con el Colegio Notarial de Catalunya, según el cual, toda compra-venta llevada a cabo en el área de La Barceloneta habrá de ir acompañada de un documento de renuncia del Ayuntamiento de Barcelona a ejercer dicho derecho. c) El acceso de las entidades representativas de La Barceloneta a la información referente a las fincas, para poder conocer, avisar o denunciar posibles irregularidades. - Condiciones estrictas para la adjudicación de ayudas a la reforma y rehabilitación, entre ellas: a) Congelación del precio del alquiler durante los cinco años siguientes a la concesión de la subvención, y su ajuste al IPC una vez finalizado ese plazo. b) Renovación obligatoria de los contratos LAU durante los quince años posteriores a la finalización de las obras de rehabilitación APPENDIX VIII http://www.btvnoticies.cat/2009/11/04/tensio-a-laudiencia-publica-de-ciutat-vella/ Reunión audiencia publica cuitat vella,…….manifestaciones. August, 2008 La Barceloneta habla y decide: Llei de barris En este momento nos sentimos fuera del espacio de la toma de decisiones, ya que hasta el momento los proyectos no se han presentado y discutido. En este sentido, muchos de nuestras propuestas están orientadas a conseguir una mayor regulación y control por parte de a administración de las dinámicas del mercado inmobiliario. Sobre todo nos preocupa que puedan ser financiados proyectos para la reestructuración económica del barrio, como ejes comerciales que benefician intereses particulares y minoritarios (no colectivos o comunitarios), y al comercio de ‘marca’, desde un modelo turístico intensivo y que no contemple las propias dinámicas de desempleo del barrio; lo que fomenta es más exclusión y pobreza. A. Planeamiento vigente y medidas urbanísticas 1. Plan de ascensores 2. Límites del barrio 3. Edificios en proceso ruinoso 4. Edificios vacíos 5. Apartamentos turísticos 6. Hoteles 7. Plan de usos y actividades 8. Patrimonio B. Vivienda 9. Hacer un censo actualizado 10. Poner fecha a las obras pendientes 11. Estudiar caso por caso las intervenciones que impliquen una recolocación de vecinos. 12. Moratoria de la concesión de licencias para oficinas inmobiliarias, promotores, constructoras o agencias inmobiliarias. 13. Dar ayudas después de estudios exhaustivos. 14. Vivienda para mayores 15. Expropiación 16. Tanteo y retracto 17. Protección a las/los inquilinas/os. 18. Mobbing. 19. Reconvertir la actual oficina d’habitage en una oficina operativa y con personal capacitado dirigida a recoger denuncias relativas al mobbing, a compañar y asesorar a las personas afectadas, junto con la colaboración de los grupos y entidades vecinales del barrio. 20. Viviendas para jóvenes/cooperativas. F. Participación ….es necesario un mapa de las fuerzas sociales que actúan en el barrio, los núcleos de socializad y los de acumulación de ‘poder’ (social y/o económico); Es importante que cualquier proyecto-proceso de participación en el barrio, respete y considere los espacios de acción social auto-organizados. No vemos que resulte productivo crear un ‘taller Barceloneta’ mediado por el ayuntamiento. Todos los procesos de participación deben considerar y respetar los ya existentes y los ritmos propios de los colectivos, grupos o entidades del barrio y la autonomía e independencia de las entidades y movimientos sociales. 57. Discutir con todas las entidades, grupos, colectivos y vecinos del barrio interesados la quién gestionará cada proyecto que se realice dentro del marco de la Llei de barris. H. Seguridad 60. Dado que el indice de pobreza no es bajo en la Barceloneta, optamos por medidas seguritarias que promuevan el conocimiento entre los vecinos del barrio y medidas de mediación, más que la implantación de más presencia policial.