Re-Thinking the River
Sant Adrià of Besòs is a small town (35.000 inhabitants) bordering with Barcelona. Historically it has been a territory without municipal entity, until, with the Regional Plan of 1953, the territorial planning of Franco conferred municipal statute to the territory. In the years of industrial development, Sant Adrià of Besòs became in a kind of a metropolitan dump through the establishment, along with polluting industry, of some metropolitan facilities (heating and electrical plants, water treatment plants, etc.).

Sant Adrià of Besòs gets his name from the river Besòs, a strange and dangerous river like most of the Mediterranean Rivers. The river divides the city in two big areas that has become a territorial and social division of the city. Some of the degraded neighbourhoods in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona are concentrated on the right riverbank . It is this territory that, at the moment , is being planned as the territory in which the great Barcelona can close the urban development of its waterfront.

The urban office Barcelona Regional, has proposed a plan for development of the area that, among other things, contemplates the regeneration of the whole Besòs river with the intention of
transforming it into a great metropolitan river park. At fiirst glance it seems a good idea, but is this project good for Sant Adrià's development?, is the proposed project the best one possible?, are the
social needs of the population attended to?.

  Content  (CAT, SPanih, English)

We implemented this participatory worshop under request of the Sant Adri's City Council, starting in 1997 and finishing just before the local pollings 1999.


We can isolate diverse implicit objectives in the formulation of this workshop.

1. - Objective participation.
The group’s work process and organisation have as their first objective, to empower the participation of the citizens regard to thinking, planning and conforming public use proposals, to
approach, from a local and personal perspective, the possible developments and action plans on this territory of the city.

2. - Objective information

Through the development of the workshop and given the characteristics of the work that we will analyse later on, to seek a system of civic information based on the representability of the
participants to set out and where possible to disseminate the information in their origin groups (Neighbourhood groups, cultural associations, etc)

3. - Objective education

Through the development of the activity, we seek to educate the participants in technical subjects and to be capable of territorial and regional analysis. Usually, this kind of training doesn't take place in the participative processes since the mediation of the technicians prevents the citizens to develop their discursive and project capabilities. Participation in the workshop also proposes to be a way of learning how to consider the real distance between the desire or the expectations and the viability of the conclusions.

4. - Objective: extension to the community
Because of its diffusive characteristics, the process and the results of the workshop enables, in a direct way, a good part of the population to « participate» in the discussion and critique of the obtained results, at the same time that the workshop becomes an open process, by being open to new incorporations and to the opinions of the population as a whole.

The project methodology is sustained in five important elements:
1. - The conceptualisation or design of scenarios (scenario planning)
2. - Demarcation of the topic to develop
3. - The points in favour and against the topic to be developed. Hierarchization / territorialization of the possible needs
4. - The form of the proposals. Project Phase
5. - The communication of the proposal
5.1. - The exhibition.
5.2. - The explanation to the citizens
5.3. - The visibility.

Structure of the CD-ROM Book
The  CD-ROM Book reproduces the structure of
the exhibition. This structure is very simple. Past, present and future.
These three concepts configure the navigation bar.

We also  introduce the evaluation of the project by Barcelona Regional on the area of the forum and the complementary media impact.

As a complement, the CD ROM presents Sant Adrià's statistical data, the fundamental aspects of the project by Barcelona Regional , to allow the contrast between the civic proposal and the technical proposal and, finally, the citizen's guide published by Sant Adrià's City council.


One year after we finished our project, the Municipality won a contracta in the framework of the EU URBAN II programme. The objective of Urban is  to operate "on the economic and social regeneration of cities and neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development".

Under request of the city council of Sant Adrià we signed and agreement to develope the project "Mapping La Mina". In parallel was created the Consortium of La Mina

A visual analisys of the evolution of the territory

1854. Plano Cartográfico. Ildefons Cerda
In 1854, Ildefons Cerdà developed the mapping plane of Barcelona plain that subsequently would provide the basis for Eixample projects. It can be appreciated that the Besòs is primarily an agricultural area

1859Reform and Expansion Plan for Barcelona by Ildefons Cerdà. In this project, the area is intended to Besos large urban park. Topic that will be repeated in subsequent projects

1897. Barcelona starts a plan for the annexation of the neighboring towns. However a border strip with river and close to Barcelona will be kept by the municipalities of Sant Adrià and Santa Coloma 1899. The process of annexations, involves thinking a new expansion plan. Ricardo Alsina Amils will design a plan in which Besòs area combines the large park designed by Cerdà with new housing projects. 1903-1905. Leon Jaussely, winner of the international competition known as "Linking Plan",keep the mentioned ideas. In the area presently occupied by neighborhoods of Bon Pastor andBaró de Viver, he plans a big railway sorting station

1920. The general plan of the city, shows us how the one hand the Eixample is growing slowly, while Besòs area remains agricultural land. 1932. The plan shows the growth of the Eixample. The Besòs remains agricultural

1944. The Official Gazette publishes the Order of annexation to Barcelona of the northern territories of the river. The southern region continues to depend on Sant Adria de Besos 1945. Plan for the Eradication of shanties. The large growth of Barcelona after the civil war, led to the emergence of large areas of shanties. Alguna de ellas en la playa, próxima al río.Some of them on the beach, next to the river. 1947. Preparatory studies of the Regional Plan. zoning criteria are introduced. Besòs area is classified as intensive residential zone and industrial area

1953. Regional Plan with zoning. The Levant corresponding to Besòs area will be a priority in the development of city growth 1950's. Proposal for implementation of large residential estates newly built

1959. Franco, with the mayor of Barcelona, José Maria Porcioles, analyzing some of the proposals ofresidential estates. Photomontage of residential estates of La Mina and Southwest Besòs
1960's. Aerial photo of the area where the housing estates of La Mina and southwest Besòs will be built. On the right the small neighborhood of La Catalana and the Besòs the river with no canalization seen.

Distribution of housing estates built in Barcelona between 1926 and 1975 . 1960's. Due to various reasons, in the 1960s, Barcelona began a process of deindustrialization. plans for the former industrial area of Poblenou (Plan de la Ribera) and connecting the city with the metropolitan territory arise. a new management of the city also arises from the idea of directional centers

PORCIOLES ( Mayor of Barcelona, 1957 -1973) DREAMS


(1968)… Moreover, the appreciation of the Tibidabo can provide an ideal place install for the Olympic Village to which you refer.

Question.- Represents  the Villa Olimpica a help for the City to solve, after the Games, the housing problem?

Answer.- Fortunately, the housing problem in Barcelona is in a process of immediate solution, but doubts fits that the facilities built for the Games would serve to enable them cultural and charitable powerful social facilities


The future  International Exhibition that the City want and crave, rightly evoked this significant period of forty years between the first and second exhibition. The four decades between ourselves and the exhibition of 1929, and forty years that frequency sound in the ears of this generation more as an obligation to fulfill and an appointment that summons us all. Each exhibition has its campus and its urban purpose. In 1888 the Citadel; Montjuich in 1929. Another scenario before us: Tibidabo

The new Universal exhibition will allow Barcelona to ratify her condition of living presence of Spain in the Mediterranean, motor cell of a new development plan for Catalonia and a decisive step for the urban transformation of Barcelona and its connection with major national and international guidelines .(1970) 

Joan Brossa. Record d'un Mal Son [Memory of aNightmare] (1989).

1966. First the Master Plan of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and later the Metropolitan Plan 1976, reordered land use criteria. 1970s. Aerial photo of the area. You can see the residential and industrial area of La Mina and the Besòs river now channeled after the great floods of 1966. 1986. Coastal Plan of the Metropolitan Corporation of Barcelona. important instrument for remodeling the waterfront of Barcelona

1993. L.Cantallops, M. Ribas and E. Roca. The Plan for the right bank of the river Besos Sant Adrià. the idea of a marina appears. On the right, render the waterfront of Barcelona including the marina of Sant Adrià.
1999. Plan to remodel the estuary of the river Besòs.

This plan raises overlooking the Forum of Cultures2004. It involves the creation of a multipurposespace 14ha, construction of the marina of SantAdrià, the creation of a coastal park and the riverBesòs cnanalización for sports uses. Also it impliesthe formation of the consortium Besos (Barcelona -Sant Adrià), as the land and projects management unit.

At the foot, Daniel Torres image illustrating theproject by "Barcelona Regional"

Consorci del barri de La Mina
As well as the Consortium Besòs was in charge of the development of the area of the Forum 2004, in the framework of the EU URBAN II programme 2000 -2008, was created another consortium, that of the La Mina neighbourhood. The aims of the consortium funded by the EU Social Fund are:

The overall purpose of the consortium, including in its statutes, is to direct, coordinate i run the implementation of the Plan of transformation of the Mina neighborhood. To fulfill the implementation of the Plan, the Consortium has the responsibility to carry out:
- The implementation of actions in the educational, cultural, employability, social, housing, and safety prevention areas.
- Coordination and collaboration for the correct application of, labor, cultural, educational, health, social housing and urban actions.
- The actions aimed at economic development of the neighborhood in coordination with the City of Sant Adria de Besos.
- The establishment of relations with other administrations, organizations and entities.
- The actions of collaboration in the development of urban instruments adopted by the City Council of Sant Adrià.
- Issuing reports regarding urban development works carried out in its territorial scope.
- The provision of funding streams by persons or entities not consortium member.

As soon as in 2001 the architects Jornet-Llop-Pastor presented their PERI (Special Plan of Reform) as a key element to help to the physical and social transformation of the area. In the image the previous 1960`s plan

2001. Jornet- Llop- Pastor plan. The Plan was awarded with the spanish National Award for Urbanism (2006) and the European Award of Urbanism (2010)

General View of La Mina. In the centre the Rambla. The surface public art project was developed by our Research Centre usin colored asphalt (2006-2008) Download project

Images of the Past

gobierno PB98-1251