[by lapin, barcelona, spain] I live in barcelona for 10 years now, after living the first months in the barceloneta district, I moved to poblenou to escape the crowd of tourists. I immediately felt at home in this old industrial area, a mix of factories, small modernist houses, graffiti, families on the rambla de poblenou and workers. it was a forgotten place in barcelona, far away from the touristic itinerary.
then, I saw the construction of 22@, a modern trade center, offices, universities and art foundations together. some chimneys and bricks buildings are cohabiting with skyscrapers. it’s fine to me, a normal expansion to bring modernity to barcelona, but the mood of the district was changing already.
so more and more creative people were moving here as poblenou became « trendy ».
meanwhile lots of huge hotels are built from scratch in the place of old façades in small streets that had the patina of past decades. and many more hotels are under construction…
this is a big trauma. I don’t recognize anymore some blocs, the rambla de poblenou is not familiar anymore, and the menu of the day in some trendy new restaurants is « paella and sangria » which get nothing to do with barcelona, but a cliché for the increasing number of tourists.
there are still plenty of great places in the neighborhood as poblenou is a vast district.
it will take a few more years to change the entire area, but on the way to the flea market this morning, I mind that some more houses, bars and workshops had disappear…
So I feel the urgency to archive in my sketchbooks this poblenou that disappears.
I know that the battle is not fair, I can only sketch to fight the gentrification, but I need it to keep in mind what made poblenou special to me.