• To Barcelona's Mayor, Joan Clos, Diagonal Mar is an urban
development disaster, despite winning an Urban Land Institute Award for
Excellence. Clos has blamed low density planning for the lack of social and
economic life in the district.
Diagonal Mar: empty streets
There are few people on the streets and public space, shops or
bar terraces are little used by the neighbours. According to Clos, Diagonal
Mar's housing densities of 48 dwelling per hectare do not contribute to building
a sense of the city. Density determines the nature of community life and the
kind of city created. Future projects should involve the recovery of higher
levels of density.
• The developments are geared to the upper echelon foreign
visitors and the younger middle and higher income groups rather than the needs
and desires of an increasingly ageing permanent population.
• The success of Diagonal Mar may rely on the reversal of
counter-urbanisation trends prevalent within Barcelona (and all western cities).
• Diagonal Mar Park: a social and physical barrier
Diagonal Mar is effectively a gated community, with a semi-private atmosphere.
Diagonal Mar: a social and physical barrier
This has generated distrust amongst neighbouring communities. The park and
buildings are surrounded by large fences that that create a sense of exclusion.
At night, when the gates are locked, the district becomes a barrier, effectively
sealing off access to the sea for inland communities. Gated communities
• The sense of social isolation created by Diagonal Mar has led the
for Public Spaces to describe the Park as one ' designed by lawyers, a place
where no spontaneous, unforeseen event can ever happen. It's a classic case of
design run amok, where creating a place for human use was merely an
• Is Barcelona really ready for a revolution in shopping
habits? The local markets are still thriving, convenience foods are difficult to
find, many of the young remain at home until their late twenties, and the
traditional family unit, although under increasing threat, is still strong.
Currently, only 12% of Barcelonans use their car to go shopping.
• Diagonal Mar caters to a hedonistic lifestyle, criticised
by Jordi Pujol (the former leader of the autonomous government) amongst others.
• Diagonal Mar relies on direct road access from Ronda
Litoral (exit 24). This area of motorway sees queues of 5 kilometres or
more build up on a regular basis. In addition, this stretch of motorway is
largely tunnelled - an uninviting prospect for regular queuing and a potential