Ciutat Vella, a place to live ?, by Eva Arderius

The Barcelona City Council has just presented the campaign ‘Ciutat Vella, a place to live’. The institutional advertising shows the squares, the playgrounds and the areas that have been transformed for the residents, such as the Plaza de Sant Miquel, which has gone from parking to a playground, a community garden in Barceloneta or a very quiet street in Ferran. The one that does not appear, and some have missed it, is the Rambla, which is precisely awaiting its reform. Real neighbors appear in the video and many boys and girls playing and doing all kinds of activities.

When the district councilor, Jordi Rabassa, published it on his networks, he received in response some images that were also real from Ciutat Vella, but which are the antithesis of what the campaign shows. Less idyllic images. Dirty parks, full garbage cans and gardens that are not in their prime. None of the images, neither those of the video made by the municipal government, nor those that the neighbors have recorded, are false. In fact, some neighbors confessed that it had caused more impact to see their environment orderly and clean than the photos of dirt and clutter that can be found every day on social networks, and that some neighbors hang up trying to find solutions to their daily problems.

With the campaign, the municipal government wants to send the message that the most important thing for Ciutat Vella are the neighbors, and that you have to try to make them feel comfortable living in their neighborhoods. A well-intentioned idea but it is not known if it will convince all those who explain, in networks and in public hearings, who want to leave. Ciutat Vella is one of the places in Barcelona where it is most difficult to live. Despite the efforts of the municipal government, this one and those that have passed before, the majority of people who lives in Ciutat Vella does it because he has no alternative, because he has a lot of patience, a lot of resistance or a lot of militancy to stay.

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Here all the problems of the city are concentrated and amplified: evictions. Although the moratorium is still in effect, within a week there were 21 in this district alone. The security problem: a fatal stabbing in the street of de la Riera Baixa last October 7 ended the patience of the neighbors who denounced robberies and problems of coexistence, especially against women. Mobility problems: illegal loading and unloading make life impossible for the residents of Calle del Salvador, just when they had overcome and solved the problem of a very active drug dealership. Now the nightmare is trucks and vans that every day they block their street, very narrow. They even have trouble leaving their house and the other day they ran out of gas because a truck destroyed the gas pipe on a facade. There is also a lack of public space and plenty of noise. In the Gòtic and in the Barceloneta some neighbors explain day yes, day too, insomnia and “adventures & rdquor; nights with parties and fights under their windows.

All this reaches the Administration, the city council knows it. In fact, police are working, A mobility plan has been announced to order the loading and unloading and more than 200 terraces have been filed that did not comply with the regulations and occupied part of a much-needed public space in these dense neighborhoods. But the neighbors don’t have enough. Those of Riera Baixa, those of Salvador, those of Gòtic and those of Barceloneta ask for the same thing: more presence of the Urban Guard. They ask for more presence of municipal services. They not only want to know that the administration has taken notice, but that something is done. And this happens with the police and it happens with cleaning services. It not only has to be done, but it has to be seen. It is a way for neighbors to feel more accompanied when they have to live with problems that can be mitigated, but will never be fully resolved. The residents of Ciutat Vella know it, all they want is to live in peace, although the reality of its streets and squares is not as perfect as that of the institutional video.

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