Cartography of Barcelona during the period of the first state of alarm due to the pandemic

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The Architecture, Cities and Culture (ACC) research group is working on the project ‘Barcelona Ciutat Fràgil’ (Barcelona Fragile City), in which it explores the condition of vulnerability and resistance of the city during the period of the first state of alarm due to the pandemic.

The aim of the project is to map the fragile city, an alternative map of the impact of the pandemic in Barcelona that could be superimposed on the conventional map of the city so that both images can be compared. The researchers want to reveal a hidden spatiality. To do this, they propose creating a map that shows events and practices associated with marginality and the fragility of life associated with space.

The project will also show creative and poetic practices, ephemeral events that, according to researchers, have become exercises of resistance with the power to create meaning and transform the urban environment. The study analyses three areas: spaces of death and grief, spaces of solitude and experiences of fear; spaces of sociability and spontaneous creativity; and spaces of links and imagination with the natural environment and the landscape.

Each area has different types of spaces to explore and represent, for example, the experience of abandonment and the impossibility of grieving; spaces of death; the study of habitability and the domestic space; support networks and neighbourhood help; adaptation of museum institutions; spaces for representing memory and homage to those who have suffered during the pandemic; the public space as a refuge for the migrant population; spaces for expression and spontaneous journeys; the memory or forgetting of other pandemics experienced; peripheral spaces and urban fabrics, among others. The result will be a dynamic website that will show the mapping of this fragile city, an exhibition and the publication of a book.

The project is a proposal of the Architecture, Cities and Culture (ACC) research group and will be worked on by an interdisciplinary team comprised of researchers from other research groups and external experts.

The project was one of four UPC projects selected for the call ‘Retreating to grow: the impact of pandemics in a world without visible borders’ (PANDÈMIES 2020) of the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), for research projects whose aim is to analyse the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic specifically, and the concept of pandemic in general. The projects will be developed in a maximum of 18 months.