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
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..