In this episode of Cities After...,Prof. Robles-Duran talks with Josep Bohigas, Barcelona’s Chief Urban Planner, about the international image and perspectives of the hegemony of American Suburbia in Western Europe. Bohigas traces Spain’s suburban development from the 1920s until today, highlighting the similarities and differences from American sprawl. As Robles-Duran concludes this short series on the American Suburban Divide, it is important to emphasize how its disastrous influence on social and environmental urban dynamics continues to define many landscapes around the world. Thus, it becomes even more important to collectively imagine ways out of sprawl.
Cities After...is a Democracy At Work production. Launched in May of 2021, it is a bi-monthly podcast about the future of cities; grounded in our daily urban struggles, it is part dystopian and part utopian. The intention is to entice civic imagination into action, because a more just and sustainable urban future is possible. A new episode is released every other Tuesday at 4pm EST.
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About our guest: Josep Bohigas is the director of the Urban Development Agency of Barcelona (Barcelona Regional), and Barcelona’s Agency of Urban Ecology, where he heads the complicated task of making Barcelona more affordable, democratic, and resilient to climate change. Josep Bohigas is also one of the main catalysts behind the project 'Arquitectes de Capçalera' (Headline Architects) which is an approach to the city born out of an assembly movement formed by students and professors in Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) in 2013. Working on the city and focusing on the collective, their methodology aims to bring the figure of the architect closer to the citizen and claims for a more committed role of the architect towards the city’s social structure. Its legal shape is the one of an academic group and an association. Arquitectos de Cabecera (Headline Architects) works along with collectives, associations, municipalities, and universities. Their current research topics are focused on the intersection of social movements and architecture, the role of architects in urban transformation, new forms of architecture pedagogies, and the new forms of housing within open metropolitan areas. Josep Bohigas is also a founding member of Urban Front, a transnational Urban Consultancy that helps progressive governments and agencies address social and environmental challenges. Bohigas is the winner of three FAD (Foment de les Arts I del Disseny) awards and three City of Barcelona awards. He has also curated cultural activism programs and exhibitions such as Arquitectes de Capçalera 2014 and Piso Piloto 2015 to explore new directions to the housing crisis.
“Marxism always was the critical shadow of capitalism. Their interactions changed them both. Now Marxism is once again stepping into the light as capitalism shakes from its own excesses and confronts decline.”