47,274 people live in the Raval and it is the only district in all of Barcelona where more than 50% of the population is foreign. Main communities are from Pakistan with 5.183, Phillipines with 4.277 and Bangladesh with 2.434 membres
Each community has its own customs and have different roles in the Raval. Pakistanis and Bengalies own food supermarkets and mobile phone stores. Phillipines mainly work as home assistants.
Iconic place: La Rambla del Raval
La Rambla del Raval is an example of the reality of the neighbourhood. It is full of different businesses, and cultures. You can see the interculturality and it is an example of the changes in the district.
The Raval brings together more than 300 cultural spaces that have managed to urbanistically and socially transform the neighbourhood making culture more visible.
Improve the image of the neighbourhood:
Many cultural facilities were located within the boundaries of the neighbourhood to enhance a new image for the Raval, much more appealing to Barcelona’s residents and tourists.
Iconic place: Biblioteca de Catalunya (Library)
More than an artistic building with books, it has the power to bring culture and literature to everyone.
The Raval district has a wide variety of bars and restaurants, thanks to the multiculturalism and diversity of the area.
Abundant and diverse gastronomy.
Iconic place: Bar Marsella
For its history, its absinthe glasses and the bohemian atmosphere that characterizes it. You can transport yourself to the Barcelona of the past but in a modern environment
Commerce means cohesion
They help reduce neighbourhood tensions by promoting business diversity.
Variety of cultures
Demonstrated by the many different types of food served in the neighbourhood.
Drug trafficking, prostitution, Illegal consumption of alcoholic beverages on the street are the most recurring problematics.
Iconic place: Mercat de la Boqueria (Market)
La Boqueria is the main market in Barcelona, and it is internationally recognized for its excellence.
5- ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM
by Blanquerna Seminar 42
According to Itziar González Virós, Architect and councilor of Ciutat Vella between 2007 and 2010, one of the main problems in the recovery process of the center of Barcelona has been the fact that this proposal was excessively physical and static. The physical project that was posed thirty years ago is almost finished, however, reality shows that the changes made are not enough. If a dynamic and motor center for the country is what we aspire to create a static project cannot achieve so.
Already in 1993, Xavier Cases, councilor of Ciutat Vella, expressed that the will of not wanting to break the charm of the neighborhood could only be preserved without transgressing the dignity of some neighbours who, without the economic possibilities to change homes or without the desire to leave their usual neighborhood, lived in a degraded and marginalized suburb of the city. Which, at present, we can’t say it has been fulfilled yet.
Bruno Baldaia exposed in his thesis that Raval is a neighbourhood of Barcelona that has been able to preserve its peculiarity until this day despite the changes it has undergone over the centuries. This student proposes as a case study a set formed for Plaza de la Garduña, the Royal Academy of Medicine, Plaza de los Angeles, the Faculty of Geography and History, Macba, CCCB and the Antituberculosis Dispensary. It is a group formed by relevant buildings of very diverse functions and times that have in common their capacity to originate flows of constant and significant people, they are generators of centralities. According to the author of this project, walking through the Raval with the aim of discovering it beyond its obvious focal points means finding a place with a double nature, despite its openness to the outside, this fact has not compromised his inner life.
6- SKATING IN THE RAVAL
by Max Salvadó
The practice of skateboarding characterizes the Raval neighbourhood. When you step into the central district of Barcelona, you are more likely to run into someone riding a skateboard than a car or a motorbike.
In fact, for some years now, this sport has been very remarkable and popular in the area. It has become a place of pilgrimage for skaters from around the world and a commonplace for practising tricks for local skaters.
However, the Raval residents are fed up to bear people coming to skate in their neighbourhood because they ruined the peace of the area. The noise of skateboards, the screams at any time of the day or night, bottles or cans leave it on the ground, and so on, make coexistence difficult between these different groups. In some way, we can say that exist a constant struggle between neighbours and the “skaters” community.
However, when you look for some information about the skate culture in this neighbourhood is difficult to find some and, even the Google algorithm seems to hide it from you. To make it clear, the information gathered in Google’s research shows some sports centres that people can find around their location.
In conclusion, what I have been able to extract is that people who live there don’t like to share the public space with skaters.
Finally, let me introduce some Iconic places in Raval’s neighbourhood where skaters are performing their tricks:
- Universitat Blanquerna-Facultat de Comunicació (Plaça de Joan Coromines)
- MACBA (Plaça dels Àngels)
Pictures: Ben Allan, Frans Ruiter
7- THE SKATERS AND THE RAVAL
by Montserrat Español and Sergi Bimbela
The Raval neighborhood, and specially the square of the contemporary art’s museum of Barcelona (MACBA) and Joaquín Costa’s street, is known for the rise of young groups of skaters, mostly tourists, who practice skating with their skateboards.
Even so, this act raises the protest of many residents of the neighborhood. These, who have to get up early to go to work, are tired of the noise that occurs late at night and prevents them from falling asleep. Noise that is also amplified by the narrow streets of the neighborhood. In addition, the problem is aggravated when, at night, the municipal cleaning service goes to Plaza dels Àngels, because then is when the skaters move from place to place and go to Joaquín Costa’s street. This increases the noise and doesn’t let neighbors sleep.
The unhappy group of residents complains about the lack of concern from the City Hall District, the continued passivity with the problem and the lack of measures that could really solve it. Nevertheless, the city council began on May 14, 2020, a communication campaign that aims to sensitize skaters of the vital importance of guaranteeing a good coexistence in Plaza dels Àngels.
On the other hand, and not less important, for skaters MACBA is a meeting place, a place to demonstrate their skills, and a place where they can enjoy a sport that, for them, means their whole life. This square is not a place where skaters compete with each other, but rather compete against themselves in order to improve their skills. In fact, many testimonies say that, for them, the beauty of MACBA is no longer the establishment, but the good atmosphere that there is and being able to interact with skaters from all over the world. To sum up, the infinity of skaters has created this great community in which they feel identified.
Pictures: Marcel·lí Sàez for EFE agency; Barcelona City Council.
8- STATE OF EMERGENCY
by Mar Peirató and Mariona Vidal
Due to the crisis triggered by Covid-19, several entities in the Ciutat Vella district have come together to end the consequences of the pandemic on the district, as well as poverty and social deprivation. They have created a new platform that brings together civil society, Emergència Ciutat Vella.
The dependence of the tourism sector has been its main problem, since it has suffered a massive decline with the pandemic situation and this has caused the queues of food distribution points to increase considerably, mostly with people working for hospitality and tourism.
The main objectives of the platform are to expand municipal social services as well as a basic income adapted to the cost of living of the district and a universal aid of 2,000 € aimed at all citizens. Likewise, they want to offer residence and work permits for everyone who has an unregistered job in order to eliminate the shadow economy. However, along with the proposal for more than 40 measures, it stands out one above all. As a consequence of the situation during the confinement in March 2020, approximately 600 temporary accommodations were set up for the homeless people to live in, but now those shelters no longer exist. Therefore, the platform urges the Town Hall to make that exceptional measure structural to be able to begin a change in dynamics and improvement of the living conditions of homeless people and, in general, for everyone living in the neighborhood.
The feedback from the city council has been in vain as they confess to not having any specific plan in place for the district. In fact, the neighborhood leader Manuel Martínez claims that “the administration abuses the use of dispatch policies” and that this municipal council that so much crows of being left-wing “errs on the same vices as previous administrations” which sat on right-wing.
Potential iconic places linked with the topic:
- Òmnium Cultural (Carrer de la Diputació, 276, 08009 Barcelona)
- Anarcoveganos del Raval (Carrer d’Obradors, 6, 08002 Barcelona)
- Arrels Fundació (Carrer de la Riereta, 24, 08001 Barcelona)
- ANC – Ciutat Vella (Carrer de la Marina, 315, 08025 Barcelona)
- Associació dels Veïns Casc Antic (Carrer del Rec, 08003 Barcelona)
- CDR Casc Antic (Rambla del Raval, 37, 08001 Barcelona)
- Consell Local per la República – Ciutat Vella (08181 Sentmenat, Barcelona)
- Xarxa Veïnal del Gòtic (Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc, 21, 08002 Barcelona)
Pictures: Barcelona City Council; Fundació Arrels; Carles Riba for El País.
9- GRAN TEATRE DEL LICEU
The Gran Teatre del Liceu, known as the Liceu, is an opera house located on Barcelona’s Rambla as part of the El Raval district. It was inaugurated in 1847 with great public repercussions. The Theater has a capacity of 3,500 spectators and at that time the stage had the most modern technology and facilities.
In 1861, 14 years after its opening, a fire destroyed the hall and the stage. The Theater fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in just one year. In the year 62, the doors were reopened with an opera.
The audience at the Liceu was quite diverse, from the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy to music lovers, members of the petty bourgeoisie and finally the working class. Although the Liceu had always been recognized by the bourgeoisie.
In 1994 there was another fire that caused a great emotional impact. In 99, the new Theater with Turandot was inaugurated.
Due to the global pandemic and the new restrictions, El Gran Teatre del Liceu is forced to suspend and modify its programming. Restrictions limit the mobility of artists to reach the city, another reason to modify the programming.
10 – MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART OF BARCELONA (MACBA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, also known by its acronym MACBA, is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art and cultural practices. It is located in the Raval district of the city of Barcelona, very close to the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona. It was declared a museum of national interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya. Since 2015 it has been directed by Ferran Barenblit.
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) opened its doors on November 28, 1995. The installation of the museum in Plaça dels Àngels, in the Raval, meant an urban change in the area and a pole of tourist attraction that until then the neighborhood with more tradition and history had not experienced. Over the last 25 years, the museum has been an attraction for the location of other art centers, such as the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, and universities, such as the UB and Blanquerna, and it has ended. becoming one of the important cultural poles of the city.
11 – RAVAL CULTURAL: A BARCELONA’S CITY HALL ORGANIZATION
Raval Cultural was born in June 2013 with the aim of promoting and asserting the great cultural and heritage richness that exists in the neighborhood of Raval and in order to identify the image of the neighborhood with what it really encompasses, enhance the joint and transversal action in the cultural field and strengthen the link between the residents of Raval and culture. The achievement of these objectives has been raised through three fields: to promote cultural action and activities, to encourage urban actions around the facilities and to promote and jointly communicate the programs.
A project that puts culture as the center, and that also tries to give importance to the initiatives of the residents of the Raval that come from different cultural contexts (multiculturalism).
Likewise, the Raval and the Raval Cultural project can serve as an engine and cultural impetus for other districts in the district that have a less wide cultural offer.
In 2016, a reflection was made on this project and the objectives and lines of work of Raval Cultural were reoriented. It went from a project that wants to communicate and create a network between large and small facilities to a project that wants to bring to light the multiple cultural expressions of the territory and co-produce culture.
The counselor takes stock of the first steps of the initiative. “Interest in visiting the neighborhood has grown, because the Temps Raval routes are very successful. And in the neighborhood, the pride of belonging to the Raval is increasing. We want to attract other types of visitors, more interested in cinema, painting or music. This will have a positive impact on the quality of life of the residents”, says Homs.
12 – LEISURE vs. INSECURITY
by Rebeca Iglesias, Claudia Alonso, Jan Bifolco and Xavier Gil
“El Raval”, the Barcelona district with the most contrasts and, is also, without a doubt, the most stigmatized. According to the media it is, above all, synonymous with insecurity and crime. As shown in the table elaborated by the city district, 57% of the news from Raval are about insecurity, doubling the percentage of crimes really happening 30%. Some residents claim that “el Raval” is losing its essence due to this stigmatization and the little physical and economic effort of the public administrations, which for years have turned their backs on the real problems present in the neighborhood: it is not just about strengthening the police forces and closing the “narco-flats”, but fighting against the social injustices, poverty and protecting the most vulnerable groups.
Raval Residents Banner: “We want a dignified neighborhood”
On the other hand, according to leisure entrepreneurs like Ramon Mas, “el Raval” is a neighborhood with a lot of history and great potential because it is a huge tourist attraction for people of all ages and nationalities. The conclusion of our research is that the neighborhood, due to its stigmatization, is well known for its negative aspects and very little for the positive ones, such as multiculturalism, leisure, shops and historic sites…Paradoxically, those who know the essence of “el Raval” the most are the tourists and visitors, those who do not live in Barcelona. Sadly, citizens of other neighborhoods in Barcelona and, in general, of other places of Catalonia and Spain do not dare to go into it and live it in their skin, conditioned by the fatalistic view of the media. Therefore, our goal with the IMAGE Mapping the city Project is to bring out not only the negative aspects, which are undeniable, but especially the positive ones, which are unknown for too many people.
Interview with Ramón Más Espinalt, Night Leisure Barcelona Guild Secretary ; City District elaborated Table about the insecurity news published vs. real criminality in Raval and neighboring districts.