Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Land Use Changes: inner city Barcelona


Brownfield sites: Areas within the city which are no longer used. They may contain old factories or housing, or they may have been cleared ready for redeveloment.

Brownfield potential: The number of brownfield sites which are available for redevelopment within a city.


How and why the inner city is changing

How Why

• Closure of factories

• Creation of derelict land and buildings and brownfield sites

• De-industrialisation. Out-of-date, polluting, uncompetitive. In many cases they closed permanently or moved to new out-of-city greenfield sites (Sant Boi), to the tariff-free zone of Zona Franca or to NICs.


• Depopulation

• Suburbanisation. Move to the suburbs for a higher quality of life

• Counter-urbanisation. Move to rural areas for a higher quality of life

• Redevelopment schemes to encourage gentrification e.g. Contemporary Art Museum resulted in loss of residential blocks

• Out-migration seeking jobs outside the city

• Closure of cheap hostels to remove the transient population - a main cause of the high crime rate


• New parks and open spaces

• For recreation and to reduce the crime rate by improving the social capital

• To encourage tourism e.g. the six new beaches at the Olympic Village


• New people

• Gentrification

• Student accommodation was constructed

• Olympic Village constructed on former factory site in Poble Nou

• Renewal and conversion of buildings of cultural and heritage value. A former hospital was converted into the National Library and convents and monasteries were taken over for schools and government offices



• Increasing population

• Gentrification and new employment opportunities e.g. 22@ high-tech zone, new hotel

• Diagonal Mar hyper-community on a brownfield site at Poble Nou attracts higher socio-economic groups

• High immigration from LEDCs

• Redevelopment and renewal of old buildings

• To provide better quality housing. Apartment blocks with lifts are particularly needed for the elderly

• New parks, open spaces and pedestrianisation schemes

• For recreation, to reduce the crime rate by improving the social capital and to reduce traffic noise and air pollution

• New jobs in the service and high-technology sectors

• Service-related employment (e.g. tourism) or quaternary (22@ high-tech zone)

• Creation of new pedestrianised areas e.g. Raval Rambla

• Reduce pollution, improve the social capital and encourage new employment opportunities and gentrification

• New university and hotel

• Encourage gentrification and provide new employment opportunities

• New sports and leisure amenities

• Improve health and the social capital

• New schools and training centres

• Improve skills

• New shopping malls (Diagonal Mar, La Maquinista) constructed on brownfield sites

• Provide jobs and encourage gentrification

• New metro links

• To improve accessibility to former brownfield sites and encourage the location of new service industries

• Universal Forum of Cultures 2004

• Used as a catalyst for continued brownfield site development. Buildings constructed for the events will afterwards be converted to other uses (e.g. geriatric home)

• Subterranean pneumatic waste disposal system installed

• To reduce litter in the streets and offensive odours

• Traffic management schemes

• To reduce traffic congestion in the narrow streets and reduce noise and air pollution

• 22@ High-Tech zone developed on a brownfield site at Poble Nou

• To provide new employment opportunities