[Another Barcelona]

The Lonely Planet describes Barcelona as a picturesque city in which "Restaurants, bars and clubs are always packed, as is the seaside in summer, where you might get the impression it's dedicated exclusively to hedonism, although it's a hard-working, dynamic place hoping to place itself in the vanguard of 21st-century Europe." This documentary deals with a different Barcelona. 

This is a story about a city that's disappearing because of the “Showroom Barcelona” that has been sold to tourists, architects, designers and all kinds of international corporations.

This is a story about gentrification.

Colònia Castells is a tiny district hidden between the biggest Shopping Mall in Barcelona and the world famous Barça FC Soccer Stadium. Its little houses were built in the beginning of the 20th century to house factory workers; today it is still a neighborhood of the working class. Indeed, it is one of the places with the highest quality of life in Barcelona because of its narrow, traffic-free streets, its little gardens, its silence...it is small horizontal oasis in the middle of a city that is a model of vertical urban growth.

Despite many years of fighting, Colònia Castells will be erased from the map of Barcelona in 2011. With the support of public administration, profit-seeking private interests have decided that the houses of Colònia Castells are in such a bad state that they must be razed. They will be replaced by a small park surrounded by big buildings. The demoralized inhabitants of  Colònia Castells will soon see their homes demolished and be relocated to beehive-like apartments in big buildings.

And those residents who have received an alternative place to live are the lucky ones. Others will be left on the streets: that's why they won't leave until the demolition begins. They stay in their homes not only as a form of resistance, but because they do not know what else to do.

The collective Salvem la Colònia is a group of neighbors that have not accepted the expropriation of their houses. It fights urban speculation and gentrification in Barcelona. You can visit their blog  here.

Otger Miralles (artist of the Colònia Castells)
You can also visit the artist's blog (in Catalan).


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