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Globalised Barcelona

THE UNEXPECTED CITY: One of the objectives of the Olympic project was to position Barcelona on the map. The result has been successful, but in an unexpected way: internationalisation has not only been produced amongst the elite and advanced technology activities or those in the hands of large companies, it has also affected the population as a whole and the entire economy. Barcelona has become a global city. The adaptation has not always been easy, not for immigrants nor for those who receive them, but throughout history immigrants have always implied a source of social capital for the progress of the city.

In the decade between 1998 and 2007, the citizens of the metropolis increased and diversified. As occurred in previous episodes of migratory growth, the new arrivals took on the most difficult and worst paid jobs, but their condition was more varied than ever.



The migratory flow involved the entire city, from construction, industry and shops to domestic work, professional offices and universities.

Immigrants or cosmopolitans? The expressions merge together when many new citizens, regardless of their situation, condition and origin and thanks to advances in real time communication, establish frequent connections beyond borders: the transnational links of a large metropolis within a global urban network. Would the crisis mark the entrance into another different period?

The exhibition questions some of the innovations in urban life associated with this human change, changes associated with practical relationships between some people and others, to tackle, by the end of the exhibition, the role of the new arrivals in shaping the contemporary metropolis. Because the history of Barcelona cannot be explained without the social capital provided by successive migratory waves to the city’s progress.