CITIES AND IDENTITIES: URBAN NARRATION, CULTURE AND COLLECTIVE IDENTITIES IN THE GLOBAL CONTEXT CORE COURSE
In this seminar we review the way in which cities and cultural identity are constructed. Using the example of Barcelona we will analyze other examples of other cities in Spain and elsewhere. In the present global scene most cities are marketing themselves in different ways to be positioned in the international markets of mass tourism, innovation, education... The goal of this seminar is to analyze through class discussions and field trips the elements of this process that combines the modernization and standarization of cities with the emphasis in cultural elements that makes each city different.
In Spain there are different examples of this reinvention of the urban image to differentiate themselves from other urban areas and to position themselves in the international scene. Examples such as those of Valencia’s city of Arts and Culture; Girona’s Call renovation project; the Gugenheim in Bilbao, Sevilla’s World Fair 1992; or the future projects of Madrid Olimpics and Zaragoza will be analyzed.
We will pay special attention to the history of the city of Barcelona that reveals interesting turning points in the urban debate that are worth exploring. In this seminar we will explore three different aspects of the city over the last two centuries.
In the first place, looking inwards, the debate on the urban design and its implications on the model of society has always been very active in Barcelona since the Cerda project of expansion “the Eixample”. This project shaped not only the urban fabric of the city but also tuned its social pulse over the last century. The contrast with other projects of the city and the social and political repercussion of them are a good example of debate between urban rationality and cultural idealism.
The second section will concentrate in the international projection of Barcelona. During the last century Barcelona has always wanted to prove its vitality by organizing different international events that showed the world that Barcelona could compete with other major metropolis. The examples of the International Expositions of 1888 and 1929 and the Olympic Games in 1992 are interesting cases of how the social aspirations became materialized in the urban space. Other examples worldwide can also be used to analyze how international events can shape a new urban image.
Finally, a debate is actually under way on the model of the city. Barcelona is looking now outwards and is trying to find its own space in the new urban network. We will explore some of the most recent debates and the most relevant economic, social and political issues that urban citizens are experiencing in cities world-wide