The balconies will always be ours

The windy season shakes trees but also consciences, the facades become threatening places while the authorities give advice so that we check our balconies to avoid falling pots and other objects. A whole Christmas ornamentation was detached from a terrace and this week forced the Fire Department to act. It has become impossible to live with your back to our terraces. This happens in Mediterranean countries more than in those that are cold: Iceland is more committed to glass facades to enhance the value of light and avoid the continuous inclement weather that hits them in a country with just 30 days of intense sun a year.

Strolling through Barcelona takes you to neighborhoods built in different times in which the predominant architecture was more or less aware of the real value of a balcony. Square meters that are paid, and that are lost in habitability, for example. This is how the balcony was understood for a long time, as an appendix where to put a plant or a chair if you don’t have neighbors too close, or the noise of cars and their fumes high above. That is if you did not opt ​​for the enclosure of the space, which was all the rage in the seventies and led to architectural atrocities, much illegality and a flourishing business for those who set up an aluminum carpentry service.

Urban fashions

The street is walkableThere are green areas, nothing to do with other urban societies. Why a balcony if it has a cost? The procés picked up the intermittent spirit of neighborhoods that used the balconies to protest. The sheets with proclamations, always angry at something, a noisy place that opened, train tracks that never go underground, a municipal performance in the area that does not like. The flags emerged only on certain days, political, especially in the Diada. The procés arrived and the flags colored our facades, stars, senyeras, banners of freedom when the promoters of the referendum ended up in jail. Now they show much less, some faded, very localized. They call for amnesty, which can be read.

The applause at seven

But the balconies, that door to the outside, that physical border between the interior and the private and the world, really took on the prominence they deserve with the confinement. With the applause at 19 in the afternoon to the essential health workers and professionals who played the type every day in the face of a pandemic that even today we do not fully understand. We began to colonize the balconies with stealth, in the face of curfews and fear of the shared space that was the street. Tables and chairs earned their place on the terrazzo floor, plants multiplied, life occupied spaces abandoned by many of its occupants.

The gay flag

But that outpost has also had its tensions. A resident of the city made his protest viral this week because the owner of the farm would not let him hang a flag with gay symbols on the bars, something that damaged the facade. I remember a facade on Marina Street in Barcelona that during the worst of the process showed so many flags of so many ideologies and symbols that it moved. It must have been from a shared flat. It humanized the facade and gave food for thought.

Not without my plants

Conflicts between owners and tenants are also growing due to the exhibition of plants on the balconies. A former tenant of a flat in Sants has been ordered by the owner of the house to remove the plants that he has outside with the excuse that their weight and humidity damage the space. Now he distributes the plants among his friends, without understanding this imposition.

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Another tenant asks for advice online because his landlord, before some works on the terrace, warned him that it was only legal to have small and medium-sized plants and never in direct contact with the ground. The tenant did not know what to do, having as it had plants of different sizes.

The balconies will always be ours, they make you want to proclaim, now that we have finally made them visible, habitable, alive.

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