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  • Mapping Barcelona’s Cultural Event Landscape: Geographies and Typologies

    Alba Colombo, Michael Luchtan, Esther Oliver-Grasiot

    Chapter from the book: Smith, A et al. 2022. Festivals and the City: The Contested Geographies of Urban Events.


    In recent years, cultural events have proliferated in many European cities, incorporating not only local celebrations, but also cultural industry festivals and celebrations from diverse parts of the world. The use of spaces by these cultural events generates tension especially when different celebrations share the same locations. This chapter focuses on Barcelona, a city with a high population density and limited space where different interests include commerce, tourism and the need for social inclusion converge. The use of public spaces for events is managed by the municipal administration who try to generate equilibrium, but pressure over the use of those spaces is apparent from a close analysis of the quantity and the types of events that are programmed. This chapter identifies different typologies and explores the existing geographical distribution patterns of more than 300 cultural events. The background to this study lies in the intersection of planned events and urban public space. Our analysis of where an event takes place is rooted in the phenomenological understanding that urban public space is a process more than a physical location, a resource and an intersubjective reality that encompasses social rhythms, the public realm, and collective patterns of movement within an inhabited space. Quantitative event data combined with data from geographical information systems, shines a light on the distribution of cultural events throughout the city. Conclusions highlight the relevance of observing events distribution by typologies, as it illustrates centralisation and decentralisation, diverse uses of space, and highlights tensions and inequalities.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Colombo, A et al. 2022. Mapping Barcelona’s Cultural Event Landscape: Geographies and Typologies. In: Smith, A et al (eds.), Festivals and the City. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book64.c

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    Published on Aug. 23, 2022