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Colau defends democratization, participation and decentralization to be the main idea of the future metropolitan city

The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Rector of the University of Barcelona, Dídac Ramírez, and the Director of the Chair, Germà Bel.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Rector of the University of Barcelona, Dídac Ramírez, and the Director of the Chair, Germà Bel.

Ada Colau, who is also President of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, stressed the priorities on metropolitan policy: integration and decentralization towards districts.

Ada Colau, who is also President of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, stressed the priorities on metropolitan policy: integration and decentralization towards districts.

Pasqual Maragall was in the conference with his wife, Diana Garrigosa.

Pasqual Maragall was in the conference with his wife, Diana Garrigosa.

13/04/2016

Institucional

The Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, was the leader of the 5th Conference of Sustainability and Territory Pasqual Maragall Chair of the University of Barcelona. Colau highlighted her idea of how a future metropolitan Barcelona should be: a Barcelona “wanting the best of the first democratic urbanism to mix it with sustainability criteria, regeneration and people’s participation”.

Together with the Rector of the University of Barcelona, Dídac Ramírez, who chaired the event, and the Director of the Chair and professor of University of Barcelona, Germà Bel, Colau started her speech reclaiming the legacy and model of the city of Mayor Pasqual Maragall, who was in the conference with his wife, Diana Garrigosa. The first Power Point slide showed three pictures with different moments in the history of the city: the Collserola Tower, Agbar Tower and the old Besós power plant towers. According to the town councillor, the social transformation under a public lead, a distinctive trait of the Olympic city, became a post-olympic urbanism which broke the steadiness between public and private interests.

 
Ada Colau, who is also President of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, stressed the priorities on metropolitan policy: integration and decentralization towards districts. The Mayor warned about the danger of fragmentation and administrative superposition- “it means damage of resources and inefficiency”- and defended a new model of management system which would solve the economic and social needs in the Metropolitan Area, with a “logical” financial model.
 
“We have always presented Barcelona as a city between two rivers and a mountain chain. These geographic elements are not a barrier but an important focus on which we have to work on with the metropolitan city”, said the Mayor. “It is fundamental to integrate this logic into cities and towns, but to make this integration process work it has to be accompanied with an administrative decentralization towards the districts”.
 
Democratization and Participation
Another proposal Colau wants to promote –as President of the AMB- will be the democratization of the metropolitan management, with the direct election of its representatives and mechanism reinforcement in participation. Other proposals the Mayor added were the recovery of water’s cycle public management, the making of a municipal operator to “fight against fuel poverty” and labour policies- “more than 20% users of Barcelona Activa live outside the city”.
 
Colau finished her speech with two clear messages. The first one was aimed to those who want to put up a barrier between Barcelona and Catalonia. “It is a mistake”- Colau said- “The Metropolitan Area has built an engine which enables Catalonia to have an economic fortress and show it to the world”. “Barcelona needs Catalonia and Catalonia needs Barcelona”. With her second message she took back a Pascual Maragall’s idea: “The future of Europe, like Pasqual Maragall saw, travels through connected cities”. The Mayor also showed her lament for “the slating of the European project in cases such as the refugees’ crisis”. “The cities, sometimes with few means, are able to find solutions whereas the state fails”, claimed the Mayor.
 
A social Barcelona
The Rector Ramírez, who thanked the Mayor for her participation in the conference of the chair, highlighted that city and university share a perspective on the Barcelona of the future: “a city which prioritizes social inclusive and supportive policies, which guarantee equal opportunities”. “Social renting in Torre Baró and politics towards refugees are good examples”. “I conceive the Barcelona-to-come as the Barcelona shown in the photos of the power plant in Sant Adrià del Besós: a city that knows profitability is measured in social and economic terms”, concluded the Rector. Germà Bel, Director of the Chair, reminded about the aim of the Economics and Territory Pasqual Maragall Chair, and highlighted “the study of poverty and social exclusion in the metropolitan areas” as one of his strategic lines.
 
The Economics and Territory Pasqual Maragall Chair aims to promote high quality research in the Applied Economics field and Public Policy, especially in the analysis and assessment of public policy and its interaction with markets and government. Despite its economic section, the Chair has a multidisciplinary vocation and aims to promote the research and complementarity of economy in different fields related to the study of government intervention. It is set in the University of Barcelona, connected to the Research Group on Government and Markets.
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