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THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF A NEIGHBOURHOOD IDENTITY.

Abstract
By : Leandro Madrazo

 
The urban renewal process in neighbourhoods with well-rooted communities often reveals the ties between people and spaces, and highlights the inextricable links between social and physical structures. The residents of three neighbourhoods in the city of Barcelona–Trinitat Nova, Plus Ultra and Vallcarca– have endured and fought against the threat of radical urban renewals planned by the municipal authorities for decades, and their efforts have only recently been rewarded with the acceptance of their demands by local administrations. In this period, residents organized themselves to defend their vision of the place against official plans, a vision which was a collective construction of personal memories and historical evidences. In the PROHABIT research project, we have undertaken an interdisciplinary study, involving architects-planners and social and environmental psychologists, to understand the process of construction of a sense of community and place identity in three neighbourhoods. The study has highlighted the need to overcome the divisions between social sciences and design disciplines, between the real world of experience and the abstract world of design thinking. In this regard, the work conducted in this project offers some insights into the need to create a holistic understanding of today’s urban environment, and how architects and planners need to develop skills and methods to enable them to form part of the open and participatory planning systems which our contemporary urban environments demand.

Keywords: Lived Space, Neighbourhood Planning, Community Identity .

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