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METROPOLITAN PASSION AND CULTURE
by Joan Clos

Metropolitan public transport, the metropolitan territory, the metropolitan network of cities, the increasingly metropolitan economy, the metropolitan job market, Metropolitan-scale infrastructure, are all familiar concepts and reflect the obvious and important fact that Barcelona is a metropolis. But is it possible to say the same of its culture? Is there a metropolitan culture? To what extent can culture be limited to a specific area?
This open letter is not the right place to reply to these questions, but it is the right place to recommend reading the Central Supplement. Five authoritative voices guide us through the culture generated, supported and planned by the cities of the metropolitan region, as well as offering us some keys to understand the present and glimpse the future of a metropolis whose lively culture takes place in many of the areas of the metropolis. There are countless examples of this cultural diversity, just as the metropolitan region takes many forms, regardless of which field we examine. Yet this environment clearly shows a lack of identity as a whole. The metropolitan region's virtue lies precisely in its combination of distinct urban personalities, diversity of natural habitats and its value as a collective and uniting factor.
This is the virtue, and, at the same time, the difficulty of dealing with it as a single whole. It is unnecessary to repeat the arguments in favour of an overall approach towards the metropolitan area, which are already well-known. But we must point out that the difficulties would be less if we were all able to break some of the barriers, not always tangible, that have for too long affected the reality of the metropolitan area.
Breaking barriers, sharpening the critical spirit and looking at things with a sceptical attitude are some of the features that define the attitude, life and work of Sempronio. Though he is not very keen on being recorded, in this number we publish an interview with him that makes essential reading. We are privileged to hear his opinions, and his confirmation of the passion that Barcelona has been for him.
With the permission of Sempronio, Barcelona's definitive chronicler and a journalist with a vocation for being inquisitive, we fully share the passion that Barcelona provokes and wishes to continue provoking.
Passion, and it should not be forgotten, demanding and ambitious, because Barcelona is reasonably self-satisfied, but asks to be helped. In this desire, in this wish shared by those of us who feel involved, Barcelona offers us a challenge and at the same time an individual and collective opportunity.