Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Viva Barcelona

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Having strolled the Barcelona streets for the past 6 years has made me aware of how much I love that city. Barcelona has done a fantastic job in holding onto and preserving their culture and traditions. It is a laid back and relaxed city occupied by interesting people, cute little café’s and historical 7 story buildings

Barcelona is a crispy clean city where storeowners or concierges sweep the pavement in front of their buildings. The sun is nearly always shining in the calles a.k.a. streets and cute little tables are dressed outside creating spectacular little café’s, next to all the green trees and parks. In the afternoon from 2 till 5 and on Sundays the shops are all closed, Spanish people enjoy big fancy lunches of 3 courses including a first course, Spanish traditional food like paella, desserts, wine and coffee, for great menu prices of 12 dollars. On Sundays I spend time with my boyfriends family, we go into the little village down the road where this old little bakery makes magical breads and we have again 3 course lunches with the grandparents and the rest of the family, eating very traditional foods like risottos, paella’s and fideua’s. We all listen to one another speak, we sit in the garden listening to classical music all dressed up elegantly for lunch and a great time is had by all.

At the age of 18 all hell breaks lose in Barcelona, as this is the legal age you can start to drive and drink, which might be better to gain at different times, and you can go clubbing and have an unforgettable night, which is not difficult in the trendy clubs of the city, like Sutton and Opium. Everyone drives motorbikes in the city, and cabs are not the main transport, the metros are clean and pleasant just like the busses. Barcelona doesn’t consist of many foreigners not many Asians at all, the Spanish people are very close to one another and have a strong cultural bond. The city is not to noisy and little do you hear sirens of fire trucks or ambulances, so bad things rarely go down. The movie theatres are always translated in Spanish, but we do have all the newest films. The people are interested in knowing your answer if they asked you a question, their polite, friendly, elegant and not fake.

What I love about Barcelona is that you’re on the beach and the mountains, it is such a diverse city and there are so many places to go and see, so much culture to be explored, so many great individual shops and high class up market restaurants to eat at, and I can even go skying if I drive 2 hours, or be in beautiful summer beach place I you drive 1 hour. It’s a beautiful city, full of markets, shops, museums and churches, and great for walking around.

I love Barcelona, and even though I am Dutch I like to consider myself Spanish. The sun, the sea, the mountaintops, the culture, tradition, the food, the parks, the shops and the atmosphere is like source of my happiness. Barcelona is just as great and powerful as many leading cities but it is totally different, there is no place like Barcelona, there is no place like home.

Sent by Rochelle from Barcelona

The changing Bilbao

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I was born in Barbastro, Huesca, studied architecture in Barcelona, worked as a student in Belgrade and since 1996 live in Bilbao so I really believe I am linked to the “B” cities. During this 13 years Bilbao has changed a lot, from an industrial, grey place in the North of Spain to the Guggenheim city. I love Bilbao, very quiet city, not so rainy in those days, close to the sea but also to the mountains, good food…

Sent by Cruz from Bilbao


Monday, November 16th, 2009

Madrid is a dynamic city that is transforming itself rapidly. New parks are appearing where freeways used to be and renowned architects are reshaping and building important parts of the city. Madrid also has one of the largest museum districts in the world (El Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia) and it is the most multicultural city in Spain, with hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and other parts of the world.

Madrid’s inhabitants includes many of the elements that characterize the creative class: musicians from various parts of Spain, Latin America and Africa; it is the home of the majority of video game developers; thousands of educators who work at several top universities; scientists at public and private research centers; one of the largest gay districts in Europe; and a growing fashion industry.

In recent years, Madrid has duplicated its metro (subway) lines, creating one of the largest systems in the world. In addition, there are now numerous bike trails and plans for more.

You can now catch high speed trains to Sevilla, Malaga, Barcelona and other parts of Spain.

Not all is rosy, but every year, it gets better and better. I look forward to the new park that is being built along the Manzanares River (the M-30 freeway was transformed into an underground highway).

Sent by Angel from Madrid


Friday, May 15th, 2009

Curiously the real estate boom that has given Madrid the chance to emerge in the Spanish context in this last decade has converted now in a mountain of billionaire debt. Barcelona and Valencia, the historic productive mega-region, became the periphery of Madrid losing, it seemed, for ever, the leadership…  Although it’ s true that from the urbanologist point of view Barcelona-Valencia conform a leading mega-region the super-powerhouse of Madrid has subordinated it through its huge train system and the natural Hispanoamerican connection (finance and Barajas mega airport, larger already than Frankfurt and Amsterdam).

There we have, then, a new mega region for Mr.Florida: EL CUANDRANTE NORESTE (the NORTH EASTERN SQUARE): Madrid retains the Sock Exchange for Spanish and Hispanics, the transport plans pass by the Spanish High Speed Train Stations and Barajas, the biggest gay community in the world (Chueca Neighbourhood) won’t move from there and the civil servants and media clusters will stay. The País Vasco mecanics centres (plus the La Rioja and Ribera del Duero food clusters) stays in good shape sending, as always, the innovative young people to Madrid. And on the other hand, the old and slave mega-region Valencia-Barcelona forgetting the real estate golden years to realize that or we give sense to our two energetic metropolis (Barcelona reaches around 4 million inhabitants,Valencia around 2 million) attracting creative business starters or we will be in a very strange and dangerous situation in this new context. Barcelona is already a world top bio farma cluster, an industrial design cluster and a 1st class food cluster. Valencia is trying to show its unique architectural evolution to the world while the creative clusters emerge very very slowly…

Sent by Iván from València

Valencia’s Future

Monday, April 13th, 2009

I am a 26 years old native from València which means that I ‘ve seen in live the conversion from the heavy industry times. Although the Valencia s caracteristiques are powerful and, in part, exploited,those that aren’t being exploited make me understand that the recent future is going to be deeply hard.Valencia is the only city in the world that has been able to make its reconversion emulating the Barcelona way seeing the pathetic failure of European trade cities as Marseille and Genoa but the delay in consolidating the cool BIOTECH CORRIDOR is our death. The city has recovered the pride because the profile has been shown in the massive media through the America s Cup but the teams HQ s aren’t used…and the F1 circuit on it doesn’t change anything…the real estate barons don t see the exclusivity of the beach where all that happens being broadcasted on tv… I m working in a project to put in contact people interested in establishing their home-offices in this piece of gold as nobody wants to….I m very worried anyway.

Sent by Ivan from Valencia, Spain