Barcelona Award 2019
Barcelona Award - Design Residence 2019
Alimentar el barrio is a research resulting from a six-month residence in Barcelona under the scholarship “Barcelona Award 2019”, offered by two Italian Ministries, in collaboration with Elisava University and the Italian Institute of Culture. Barcelona is the city of markets. This project focuses on farmers’ markets with the intention of creating a new “system” of market-making: the ideal place to promote culture and local products at 360°. Design and architecture can provide farmers with an appropriate infrastructure to increase their competitiveness and reduce the inequalities created by the world of large-scale organised distribution.
Barcelona, the city of markets
The world of agri-food production is one of the main factors in global pollution: intensive production, global distribution, transport and packaging are just a few of the impacting activities.
In response to a linear system, however, small everyday responses are emerging, such as a return to extensive agriculture that respects natural cycles. Among other cities, the phenomenon has grown in Barcelona also thanks to the food markets, which have always been a symbol of the city. The city currently hosts 39 of them and since their inception they have contributed to its character and developed a role of attraction and social cohesion.
Municipal markets have had to face up to large-scale distribution and adapt to new forms of consumption. Currently, almost 42% of the volume of food comes from the “Mercabarna”, food management companies, and only 7% directly from farmers. However, in recent years, a new network of 7 farmers’ markets has emerged: the “Mercat de pagès”. Nevertheless, these markets are often “at risk” due to reduced participation and lack of services.
The methodology used to study and analyse Barcelona’s farmers’ markets was conducted both through direct observation and interviews with associations, consumers and producers. A participatory workshop was also organised.
The case study area
The project area finally fell on the “Parc de les tres Xemeneies”. Located in the Sants-Montjuic district, it is a strategic meeting point between three neighbourhoods: Poble-sec, Sant Antoni and Raval. The users of the market have therefore been classified into three categories: people living in the immediate vicinity, residents of other areas attracted by the market’s offer and activities, and tourists passing through.
Slow Food’s Mercat de la Terra has found its home here. The park has a strong historical memory linked to the old La Canadenca power station but, despite repeated planning interventions, it has always been little loved and experienced by the citizens. The area only comes alive during the Saturday market event but remains in a state of neglect and degradation for the rest of the week.