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The Barcelona Debate

Open City

The Barcelona Debate 2014

Every day the city gives rise to a new city, fruit of the incessant movement of its inhabitants, the juxtaposition of their stories and the never-ending friction and mixing of life in the streets. Just as the street – the “living room of the collective” – is the basic cell of the urban form, openness is the essential condition of the city, the measure of its vitality and its creative force. Inevitably, however, this circumstance leads to ambiguity, conflict, novelty and risk. Hence, the tension between being open and being closed is constant and although the city is, by definition, something unfinished, polymorphic, and resistant to being fixed and controlled, it also has an abundance of closing mechanisms, limits and thresholds that seek to discipline, integrate and reduce the genuine heterogeneity of its citizens. The open city is a tool for thinking: an aspiration, a utopian condition, and ideal horizon. Its imperfect and incomplete matrix allows people to dream of it as a space of emancipation, imagine other ways of living together and reveal the forms of exclusion, strategies for survival and the inevitable discord that are the product of coexistence.

This activity is part of The Barcelona Debate

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