return to nº44

by Joan-Anton Benach. Managing Editor.

An objective that appeared to be unattainable has finally been achieved. Long-standing differences have now been settled. The event deserves to be reported with a certain rhetorical flourish. The fact is that, following lengthy negotiations, Barcelona has succeeded in granting itself the juridical and political instrument that should allow the city to reconcile its requirements in terms of autonomy and development to the impositions that run parallel with its condition as an increasingly powerful and future-orientated capital. Because, for many years now, Barcelona's function as capital city has been influencing not only its own urban physiognomy and the management of a wide range of resources, but also its inhabitants' standard of living. Obviously, I am referring to the "Municipal Chart" whose definitive text, following its approval by the city council in plenary session, has served to exemplify one of the most enthusiastic institutional agreements that have been reached over the last years.
The debate has therefore come to a close. For the time being, at least. So, to be in harmony with the recently achieved consensus of opinion - and almost by way of a metaphorical confirmation -, this issue of the city's magazine does not open with either a discussion or the usual collation of divergent criteria, but rather with the expression of an opinion which is intended as a complete and authoritative gloss of the principal elements contained in the Chart. As a matter of fact, Eduard Paricio, head of the legal services department of the "Federació de Municipis" (Federation of Municipalities), has carried out an outstanding dissection of all the points included - as well as those which have been left out because they could not be included (not yet at least) - in the drawing up of the Chart, an instrument which is basic to the progress of the city of Barcelona. If I were to take an "advertiser's" approach, I would say that reading Paricio's article is a real must.
Furthermore, the final formulation of Barcelona's Chart coincides with a juncture at which the so-called "settings" of the new millennium - and, more especially, the large-scale urban and infrastructural transformations projected to be completed around the year 2004 - are taking definite form. For this reason, as B.MM already did in 1992, this issue of our magazine includes a long interview with the Mayor of Barcelona, in which the immediate future of the city is the object of a series of reflections from diverse perspectives. Besides, the interview Joan Clos holds with journalists Martí Gómez and Eugenio Madueño is featured prior to our "Quadern Central", a section which has been thought out and designed to serve as a kind of "guide" to the changes that have already started to take place in the city. This 2004 Central Section is presented in the same spirit of service to the citizens that, a few years ago, led our magazine to provide its readers with systematized information about Olympic Games-hosting Barcelona in another "Quardern" whose validity as reference material has stood up to the passing of time. Opening with an introductory analysis contributed by the manager of "Barcelona Regional", Josep Antoni Acebillo, who considers the newest changes within the framework of a "metropolitan network of cities", the dossier also features a number of catalogue-like pages centred around the great exhibition set up at the "Port Olímpic" and which coincides with the Congress of the "Unió Internacional de Poders Locals" or IULA (International Union of Local Authorities).