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The city of care, the city that gives priority to life

Care. Increasing life expectancies, declining birth rates and evolution of the family structure have been throwing us into a care crisis and compelling us to rethink the current care model for dependent people. How should cities take on this challenge?

Increasing life expectancies, changes in reproductive behaviour and evolution of the family structure have raised the demand for care in our country and this will have to be addressed. Political polices are needed which are aimed at creating a new economy and new care ethics, and a social, cultural and urban-planning environment that is geared towards facilitating them. The “La ciutat de les cures” [city of care] dossier of issue 122 of the Barcelona Metròpolis magazine features proposals here for getting through the crisis and promoting a city that gives priority to life.

Life-supporting tasks have long fallen to families and women above all. And to domestic workers all the more so now, many of whom are immigrants, in many cases forced to work in precarious and even informal-economy conditions. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the huge frailty of our system of care for dependent people.

 The dossier in issue number 122 of Barcelona Metròpolis, entitled “La ciutat de les cures” [city of care], features, on the one hand, all the figures and changes that the demographic pyramid has experienced and which confirm that we are facing a care crises or a revolution, depending on how you look at it, which is compelling us to look for alternatives for attending to the population’s needs during their successive stages of life.

Lourdes Beneria opens the dossier and explains how care has always existed as women’s essential work, work that has held them back or made it hard for them to access the labour market, a situation made all the more evident by the pandemic.  The ethics of care and social justice are the issues dealt with respectively by Victòria Camps and Marian Barnes. Both state that care is both a right and a duty, implying those who receive it and those who give it, and that it has to be considered both in public policies and in law.

Low birthrates and longevity are resulting in an ageing population. This change in demography has moved on from being analysed as a demographic crisis to being regarded as a reproductive revolution. This is the view of Raquel Martínez Buján, who explains everything we can learn from to rethink our care model. Dolors Comas d’Argemir too complements the previous article by giving the reasons, in her mind, for the need for changing the care model for people who are dependent.

Three articles conclude the dossier explaining three specific proposals: Blanca Valdivia explains from the perspective of urban planning, how to transform the space for giving priority to life; Lluís Torrens explains the municipal Vila Veïna project, which aims to build environments where care is not experience in solitude but rather in a community, and Laura Peracaula Basagaña and Tomàs Llompart i Coll, the co-directors of Suara Cooperativa, opt for the social economy, which prioritises people over capital.

In short, “caring needs to be everyone’s responsibility”, as pointed out by Milagros Pérez Oliva, the director of Barcelona Metròpolis in its editorial.


Life, work and health

 “Most of us architects are not elite or involved in speculation.” So says Carme Pinós, an architect who has opened the way and shared her first professional stage with fellow architect Enric Miralles. She founded her own studio in 1991, when women were the exception in architecture. Núria Moliner interviews Carme Pinós now that she has just received the 2021 National Prize for Architecture and continues to be interested in every scale, because architecture is all around and makes the city. And, above all, as she says, because architecture “is not work, but living”. The other interview in issue number 122 of Barcelona Metròpolis can be found in the culture section. Oriol Puig Taulé spoke with the playwright, director and psychologist Clàudia Cedó, who creates serious stories with commitment, such as Síndrome de gel which has just premiered at the Teatre Lliure.

The “Urban visions”] section features an article entitled “Arts digitals a Barcelona: la gran embranzida” [Digital arts in Barcelona: the big impetus] is an extensive report from Anna Pérez Martí who presents the good times that Barcelona’s audio-visual creation studies have been seeing. On the other hand, the data gathered in the “Barcelona en dades” [Barcelona in data] section, entitled “La salut més enllà de la covid-19” [Health beyond Covid-19], highlight how much work there remains to be done for recovering out healthcare system’s capacity. We conclude the issue with a short story, “El miracle” [The miracle], written this time by Melcior Comes.

The publishing sector has been seeing promising times, given the respite that the pandemic offered it for resuming sales in the world of books. But questions have also been raised on readers’ new habits. Hence the cultural debate’s aim to answer the question “Where is the publishing market heading towards?”.

The culture section’s pages offer you a review of the book Un trajecte pels feminismes fílmics, by Marta Selva and Anna Solà, the founders of the Barcelona International Women’s Films Festival, now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

As for the most visual part of the magazine, Maria Contreras Coll shows her photo report entitled “Dones que trenquen barreres” [Women who break barriers], a tour through many of the works she has documented around the world for raising the visibility of women and their rights. The front page and illustrations are the work of the artist Margarita Castaño.

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