Apocalyptic Barcelona, ​​by Ernest Folch

“The ‘superilles’ of Barcelona will put 25 000 people out of work and will cause losses in the restoration worth 3 500 million euros”. While it may seem so, it is not the headline of any yellow digital tabloid newspaper but the official statement released last Saturday by a century-old institution such as e.g. Job promotion, suddenly becomes an agitator, not to mention an opponent. Because it is normal and understandable that a private entity like Foment, which represents hundreds of businessmen, wants to act as a ‘lobby’ and does not agree with what a government decides on its ideological antipodes. What is not normal is that you use a surprisingly radical, belligerent and catastrophic tone, inappropriate for people who call themselves order. It is to some extent normal that Foment, as is traditional, protects the car and the traditional economy. What is not normal is that he ignores reality and deliberately ignores it, in the last barometer of the city, a spectacular 75% of Barcelona residents surveyed were in favor of reducing motorized traffic, nor is it normal to omit that a recent UN report sets this so-called frightening ‘superille’ as an “example” to the world against climate change, or that the actions in favor of sustainability in Barcelona have received notable reports in small suspicious newspapers such as ‘The Guardian’ or ‘The New York Times’. And it’s very normal for Foment to give his opinion on the future of the city, but it’s not normal for him to devote himself to making cheap, unscientific, and impossible-to-prove futurology about the consequences of something that does not yet exist. . , such as the ‘superilla del Eixample’, and omits objective data, as Barcelona is today the 18th most competitive city in the world and the 7th in Europe (according to the coveted Global Power City Index), an index which he strangely enough does not mention and of which it is impossible to be unaware.

Let’s say that Nostradamus’ prophecies contrast with the vision that has an influential part of the world of the city. That is to say: there is a reactionary protest against any change in mobility, but it is overlooked a clear majority of those living in Barcelona, unlike those who just come to work, are in favor of limiting the car and taking measures in favor of sustainability. It is strange that it is some representatives of businessmen (those who always tell us that radical messages are enemies of business) who they deliberately shift the image of an apocalyptic Barcelona. Whether employers like it or not, a majority of pedestrians, cyclists, or simply residents enthusiastically applaud the fact that the polluting, noisy and dangerous car is being removed from the streets, and that sustainable and healthy living is ultimately prioritized above the interests . of any industry.

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No, Barcelona is no ‘rare bird’ today: the solutions he proposes are very similar to those that cities like Paris, New York, Berlin or Copenhagen have already taken and are taking. This does not mean that wrong decisions are not taken (such as the shocking pedestrian area of ​​Via Laietana or the poorly communicated Consell de Cent avenue), but it is hardly debatable that the rate Barcelona has taken towards sustainable mobility is essential to the quality of life. of its inhabitants, and is in line with what other major cities in the world are doing. Maybe this is what it all shows when a new world is born, there is always another who refuses to die.


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