Raval district, Barcelona, Spain.
Why was it necessary?
The area was very densely populated until the city walls were removed at the turn of the 20th century and the Eixample area was built.
The city’s red light district used to be in the most Southern part of the district near to the port and was also known as ‘Barrio Chino’ (Chinatown). With the arrival of heroin in the ‘70s, serious problems began for the Barrio Chino since the old and semi-tolerated petty criminality became much more threatening, in particular affecting the tourist trade.
What was done?
In 1988, the government began a huge urban regeneration project where a lot of money was invested in cleaning up the area and making it more modern and safer. Both the city and the district were transformed in this time to prepare for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
The Ajunatement (local council) has promoted the Raval district as vibrant, up and coming in one way by creating a new verb, Ravalear (Catalan: Ravalejar), to give a brand personality to the neighbourhood; its way of life, feeling and doing things.
Many of the old tenement blocks (they had been built to house workers from the countryside) are part of a growing trend to modernise those in the best condition however many have been demolished.