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Barcelona - who tells the story?

Went to seminar on the so-called Barcelona model: Learning from History - Barcelona 20 Years On, which was being put on by the University of East London at the offices of the LLDC, with two speakers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Berta Cerezuela and Francesc Muñoz. Given the connection with the IOC and the LLDC maybe it wasn't surprising that this was strongly supportive of the 'success of Barcelona' theme.

Dr Cerezuela simply provided a long recital of the ways Barcelona had tried to propagate the idea of a Barcelona legacy. Professor Muñoz produced a number of maps of the city with circles, lines, arrows and such like on them and referred to the legacy of public open space where Indian migrants now play cricket in the public space on the newly opened up waterfront. There was a lot of talk about 'memory' and 'managing consensus'. Nothing about the 55,000 people removed from the docklands area, about the importance of who tells the story or of an alternative point of view until these were raised by members of the audience, at which point he agreed the process had led to the creation of an exclusive suburb with only 5% 'affordable' housing followed by a widening process of gentrification, which had made Barcelona a difficult city for many (poor) people to live in.

A more supportive member of the audience asked if Barcelona was now a happier city. Professor Muñoz thought it was!


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