El Carrito: Week Four, Monday, February 7, 2011

Plaza Past

The name of Fort Pienc derives from Fort Pio, a fort constructed in 1719 under King Philip V of Spain in the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). The Fort has its place among other fortification located on the periphery of the old city used strategically during the 1714 battles including Montjuïc Castle atop the hill to the West of the city and the Citadel (now Parc de la Ciutadella) just south of Fort Pienc.

Plaque in Fort Pienc Plaza

The plaque in the Civic Center Plaza of Fort Pienc commemorates this history: “The old fort was constructed in 1719 after the War of the Succession and was demolished in 1868. The description [of Fort] has remained as the name for the neighborhood.”

The Importance of Participation

In the Civic Center of Fort Pienc another issue brought forth with El Carrito is the importance of participation. Using postcards created by other local factions of Arquitectos Sin Fronteras, we used these visual aids to discuss other instances of successful participation in Barcelona, or the consequences of a lack of advocacy for communities.

Martin and resident discuss participation over postcards

One of the most famous examples is the case of Forat de la Vergonya (Hole of Shame) where only diligent and ongoing community pressure succeeded in retaining a public space after the clearance of several blocks of housing from the Ribera neighborhood. In general, issues like eminent domain continue in Barcelona, as captured in a one of the postcards:

eminent domain monster mural

The postcard shows an image of a mural on a city wall depicting the gentrification that results from tearing down the old for the sake of the new.  Currently, the Glories Plaza, an object of design frustration for many decades, shows yet again that the dominant thinking in rehabilitation generally involves creating a blank slate.

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