The Lost Shantytowns of Barcelona

Wynn, Martin G ORCID: 0000-0001-7619-6079 (2024) The Lost Shantytowns of Barcelona. Encyclopedia, 4. pp. 444-477. doi:10.3390/encyclopedia4010030

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Shantytowns still existed in many of Southern Europe’s major cities in the second half of the 20th century, although many have now been demolished. The purpose of this article is to highlight the history and evolution of some of the main shantytowns that remained in Barcelona in the mid-1970s, track their subsequent demolition, and reflect on the fate of the shanty dwellers. This form of self-build housing, usually lacking in basic services, played a vital role in providing shelter for immigrant families and the urban poor. A strong neighbourhood identity existed in many of these shantytowns, and national and local policies that aimed at their demolition and the re-housing of residents, often in low-quality housing blocks, proved problematic. The shantytowns studied here are La Perona, the Tres Turons, Campo de la Bota, and Ramon Casellas, which together comprised over 2000 shanty dwellings in the 1970s. Drawing on photographs taken at the time and existing literature, and using recent images from Google Earth, the demise of these shantytowns is examined, and the policies and plans that determined their fate are discussed. This article finds that the shanty dwellers experienced mixed fortunes, some being forcibly removed and re-housed in tower blocks with associated social-economic problems, whilst others played an active part in the design of replacement housing, implemented in situ where the shanty dwellings once existed. This article contributes to existing studies on shantytowns in Barcelona, which received scant attention from academics at the time, and which only now are being recognised as an important aspect of Barcelona’s urban history.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Martin Wynn
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2024 10:23
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2024 10:30

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