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THE GREAT CULTURAL METROPOLIS
by Joan-Anton Benach, editor

For some time there has been an urgent need to articulate a policy of services at a metropolitan level. This situation has been imposed with a relentless and irreversible force. Beyond the "area" that immediately surrounds Barcelona, which was formerly the object of so many political headaches, a new metropolitan space containing a population of over four million has grown and become consolidated. A "new" First Region has thus become apparent, and the planning authorities will have to sanction it with its own peculiar identity.
The Metropolitan Survey of Barcelona of 1995 already included 162 municipalities, with the addition of the counties of the Alt Penedès and the Garraf to the "traditional" nucleus of the two Vallès, the Maresme, the Baix Llobregat and the Barcelonès. B. MM has today decided to focus on this regional map in order to make an preliminary study of its cultural potential based on basic facilities and their present-day use by citizens. Fèlix Manito, who has coordinated the Central Insert that we devote to this subject today, presents a description and an analysis of the current situation that+those can be used to foster the debate that has arisen in different areas of society. A study that wishes to respect the "metropolitan vocation" that was pointed out in the Strategic Plan of the Cultural Sector of 1998, as the article by Esteve León recalls, should not be articulated from a void but on the basis of local dynamism, which will always play a prime role in the articulation of the new space.

In the work by León on the "cultural policy" that must be considered from a metropolitan viewpoint, the reader will find the current lines of convergence and tension that appear when one imagines the action to be taken in this area. The immediate future is full of stimulating challenges. Also here, the new culture of communication forces us to consider many concepts from a viewpoint that only five years ago no one would have foreseen; the article by Xavier Marcet on the effect of the Internet on cultural markets considers, without "cybernetic adulation", the substantial changes that one must expect in this area.
We have tried to bring together in this monographic insert a number of articles by well-qualified writers that deal with all aspects of metropolitan culture, though it be through a simple comment that may be developed in future issues of the magazine. Also, "The Question" which is included in the first section of the publication, extends the horizon of the central dossier with articles by Jordi Font and Manuel de Forn that are eloquently complementary. Action without diagnosis may become pure voluntarism. Diagnosis without appropriate action is poor and sterile..