Buscando Barcelona

La Vanguardia: Local News

Posted on: December 15, 2009

Yesterday, La Vanguardia ran a story about the increase in the price of Barcelona public transportation by almost 2% in January. Right now, a T-10 card will set you back 7.70 Euro and a one way ticket costs 1.35 Euro. Starting in January, the price will now be 7.85 and 1.40 respectively. While this doesn’t seem like too much of a change, Barcelona’s citizens are understandably outraged. Given the fact that with the lack of parking and already busy traffic situation, public transportation is often the easiest and fastest way to get around the city. Increasing the prices of these tickets will take more out of the pockets of the citizens who already pay high taxes for other public services. In an effort to soften this blow, the Metropolitan Transport Authority is in the process of creating a T-12 which will give you 2 extra rides, a range of titles for large families to use the same metro plan with a 20-50% discount, and the extension of the T-Jove to 25 years of age. Despite these efforts, Jordi Portabella, President of the ERC criticized the rise in the prices and argued for a freeze on tariffs in light of the economic crisis. Hopefully the ATM will listen to them and put a stop to further increase in public transportation prices.

            Also in the December 14th  issue of La Vanguardia is the article regarding the ban of smoking in enclosed public spaces, entertainment venues, and restaurants in 2010. The article is very short, just a quick summary of the talks that have been going on between different political groups and Minister Trinidad Jiminez. He says “to the extent that we get political consensus, we will achieve social consensus. We’re culturally ready to adopt now, and we are in this final phase of negotiation.” I have never been in a city where you are allowed to smoke inside restaurants and bars, but this is because the US has taken strong strides to promote overall public health and to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke. I’m glad to see that Barcelona is making the effort to do the same and hope that other European cities follow suit!

Another article I found interesting was the article discussing the Barcelona Institute of Architecture. As I have both learned in class and seen firsthand, Barcelona is incredibly eclectic when it comes to its local architecture. One of the most well known architects in the world, Antoni Gaudi, lived and worked here and left behind some of the greatest contributions to architecture known to man. Along with that beautiful modernisme architecture is the stark contrast of the modernity of the MACBA museum and the twin towers on the beach. So it is no surprise that architecture as an industry is an important part of the Barcelona economy. The article discusses how the institute will make an effort to meet the challenges brought about by the economic crisis. Bursting the housing bubble, new technologies and a mixing of academic research and specialty practices is their goal in their postgrad and professional debates. It is no surprise that their headquarters is in La Pedrera, a famous Gaudi creation and because of this it also enjoys public-private funding through the Caixa Catalunya which also has offices there. Because of their extensive funding, I have no doubts that their goal of turning Barcelona into a reference point between local professionals and the rest of the world will come true. Through new digital studios, open reading workshops, improved Masters plans, and conferences, the BIArch hopes to make the most of their initial 1million euro budget over the next couple of years.


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