Everything can have two faces,two readings,two versions…Anything can embody the contrary we are contemplating,holding a side we do not want to see or we prefer to not know.
That happens with people that we meet,situations that we live and places that we like.We think we know some cities just because we have been there.However,every city we think we know has a hidden face.
Beyond the most popular Barcelona,beyond Gaudi and the Sagrada Familia,beyond the coloured Parque Guell,beyond the modernity of the Agbar Tower or beyond the lively hustle and bustle of Las Ramblas there is real life.A life that is not easy and nice for every one.A life that can be seen through different tinted glasses.
Dearth and progress coexist in scarcely a few meters at the District 22@ in Poble Nou,Barcelona.In 2001,the council planned an ambitious project to transform a popular area,which represented the industrial centre of the city during the Nineteenth century,being known all around Catalunya as “the Catalan Manchester”,into an innovative environment with the aim of establishing the economic and technological core of Barcelona.Now,present and past live together in Poble Nou.Old high brick chimneys remain next to big buildings,made with glowing glass and metal.The same contrast can be appreciated in the different people who dwell in the neighbourhood.Beside the white -collar workers that hurriedly walk everyday in their suits and ties to reach the new businesses that have opened in the last years in Poble Nou,whole families are living in very bad conditions on wastelands.Various old factories conceal a social reality of poverty and exclusion;more than 40 deprived Portuguese families have made their homes in these spaces and are inhabiting there for over 10 years.Most of them live in their own caravans,whereas others have built small houses with wood.The vast majority are young couples that immigrated,running away from the misery of their country to sink into another country,s penury.They survive by moving to Galicia or France to work ocasionally in the grape harvest or selling scrap.
Adults and children share run down places where they do their day-to- day life being absolutely ignorant about their uncertain future,and feeling the expectations of obtaining one of the council houses,a promise made by the authorities,from the more than 4000 projected in the area.
Currently,the only certainty is that Poble Nou is vanishing to give away to the District 22@.
The residents consider that the development that is being made is pretty aggressive and they vindicate that change would be respectful with the uniqueness of the enviroment.That is the reason why they have organised civic groups to defend and protect the identity of their neighbourhood.Otherwise,with the old quarter will also disappear more than 100 years of history.