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12 March 2014

“Property rights are the first matter that should be discussed in good urban planning”

Interview with Oriol Bohigas

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Shared Spaces speaks with the architect Oriol Bohigas, President of the Jury of the European Prize for Urban Public Space in the 2000 and 2004 awards.

[Spanish and Catalan > English | Duration: 00:07:51]

Oriol Bohigas, a well-known Barcelona architect for the last five decades and President of the Jury of the European Prize for Urban Public Space in the 2000 and 2004 awards, was interviewed by Shared Spaces in May 2012 when he was filmed for the documentary Europa Ciudad (Europe City), which was co-produced by the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and Spanish public television. In the interview, Bohigas highlighted the importance of the architectural form since “it determines the political contents of a city”, and also warned that it “is even possible to influence the citizens’ ideology through the urban form”. Bohigas illustrates his remarks with two examples. First, he says that “the different forms of economic abuse have restricted the political and social capacity of the city”, and he even asserts – while also confessing that he is, “overstating the case” – that “a city with landowners can’t exist” and that “urban planning can’t be done if the property does not belong wholly to the collective”, specifying that, “I’m not talking so much about houses, but about land”. Hence he insists, that “property rights are the first matter that should be discussed in good urban planning”, even though no one does this. Second, he believes that “the defence of the historic monument has been overdone in the Mediterranean countries, in Italy and Spain, for example”, and also that, “over-the-top conservation of old architecture is calamitous in terms of social reality”.

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