Barcelona: “we are shabby, but we try to show good image”

By | 2008-05-29

Yesterday Jordi and I were discussing about a recent Graham article on “Cities and Ambition“. Briefly it says that cities transmit you a message, and depending the city it can be things like: “be smarter” (Cambridge), “get money” (New York) or “change the world” (Silicon Valley). Inhabitants of each city show some of these feelings, and more people come to live and share them.

So what’s the message that comes from Barcelona? After 3 years living here, and through my narrow experiences, I could say something like: “you are shabby, but you can show big things”. A cult for image, physical and on creativity. We/They know we/they are not too smart or effective, but we try to build big things, to do big artistic demonstrations. Hide the garbage and show the gloss. Try to be real European, more brilliant than anybody in Spain (specially Madrid), while you hide numbers on thefts and lead plumbings.

Is this the kind of message I’m looking for? Is that message currently affecting me? Or is this just my interpretation of Barcelona?