I went to a lovely local event in Barcelona organised by local neighbourhood project Recreant Cruïlles, who are running a campaign to reclaim land on an abandoned site for public use. They hope to gain use of the site of the former convent of the Germanetes dels Pobres (Little Sisters of the Poor), now an empty plot of approximately 5,000m2. Located at the junction of Carrer del Comte Borrell and Carrer del Consell de Cent, the empty site currently belongs to Barcelona City Council. The land was purchased by the city in 2006 with the intention of developing a range of public facilities necessary for the district, facilities which residents had demanded for a long time. However, these facilities were not built and the site remains empty (apart from a few private new builds). In addition the junction of these two streets is also the focus of a campaign by a number of Parents’ Associations from local schools and other local groups, gathered together by a project named CAMI AMIC (Friendly path). The focus of these demands has been the pedestrianisation of this area since most of the district’s public schools are located on these streets. Recreant Cruïlles is a group project working for the release of the Germanetes site. The collective bases its actions on the idea that empty spaces in the district represent a waste of resources, and that the district’s residents should own and manage them. The group calls for the participation of all residents and district associations to draft a self managed project for the site. www.recreantcruilles.wordpress.com
They cooked paella for 400 people and to my amazement and delight – it was vegan!