The platform “Defend Port Vell” was created last May 2012 by citizens of “La Barceloneta” and other neighbourhoods of Barcelona city in order to confront the new speculative project of Port Vell’s refurbishment, expansion and privatization of some public docks as the “Moll d’Espanya” (Dock of Spain).
This project shows again the stubbornness to promote an excluding and privatized city model which only some super-rich people can afford. In this part of the city we are already familiar with the problems related to property speculation and privatization of the public space, such as the construction of the W Hotel or the “Maremagnum” shopping mall, both around Port Vell.
The new project will imply more social impacts in the La Barceloneta’s neighbourhood and also elsewhere in Barcelona, diminishing both the maritime culture and our right to the city.
This refurbishment does not promote a culture of sustainability in our city. Initiatives and projects in cities must not only foresee economic benefits but also social and environmental impacts that those who live in the city will face. It is in this context that the platform “Defend Port Vell” establishes its foundational principles to confront this new attack to our rights
- We defend the non-privatization of public space and we therefore declare our firm opposition to the expansion of Moll d’Espanya and its affectation in the northern part of the Fish Dock. We want a harbour for citizens, a place to be enjoyed by those of us who live in the city. A space where to enjoy the maritime culture that is part of our historic and social heritage.
- We are against the construction of the required barriers to make this space a “high security area”. We are also against the construction of the projected wall in Moll d’Espanya because it would make the horizon sights of Barceloneta and eastern Gòtic disappear.
- The social and environmental impact of this project, which aims to make Port Vell the home port of luxurious super-yachts, is yet another reason on which our opposition to the project is based.
The result of this new speculative project will be the expulsion of those neighbours who can’t afford the increasing of the housing prices in the neighbourhood. This is already happening in La Barceloneta and other neighbourhoods in Old Town of Barcelona because the increasing of touristic apartments and flats. At the same time, the use of fishing ships’ berths by much larger yachts will decrease the fishing fleet in Port Vell, – at risk of disappearing now -, and thus diminishing the city’s alimentary autonomy. The environmentally friendly traditional fishing way has suffered a progressive abandonment and it needs an articulation with associations and consumer cooperatives which support the model in its struggle to keep it alive. It is therefore clear that an environmental evaluation of this project is required.
Moreover, we want to denounce the infringement of the right to information by affected people and entities which, even requesting so, have not been provided with access to the full project. In this whole process, the Port Authority has acted in a non-transparent way, preventing public information of the project to be accessed. We demand transparency and citizen’s participation in this process, which will clearly affect the relationship between Barcelona and the sea.
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