The exhibition

This exhibition aimed to show the metropolis of Barcelona projected from three perspectives: past, present and future. To do so, the expographic project was organised through a central space and a series of cubicles that offer an overall view of the areas, preserving at the same time their individuality.






We showed what is the current situation in the metropolitan Barcelona, trying to understand it as the result of its urban transformation in the last 40 years on the PGM (General Metropolitan Plan) from 1976. In this period, the planning has established an urbanised territory that can be explained as a metropolis of different cities keeping their own character.

Besides, once the present was explained as a result of the changes occurred in the past, the exhibition projected the gallery of future opportunities of the metropolitan city.



All exhibition videos

The context

Historic and territorial sphere
  • Barcelona among the metropolises
    Due to its geographic situation and urban culture, Barcelona is quite distinct from other capital metropolises in the world.

    Its particular character arises from its valuable history, consistent growth and, most of all, from the powerful dynamics experienced since the late nineteenth and throughout the twentieth century. The transformations of the last forty years, in its urban spaces as well as in economic and residential activities, have placed the city at the forefront of Europe.
  • Barcelona Metropolis: a capital pole in Europe
    The metropolitan area of  Barcelona plays a leading role in the context of Europe. Its strategic geographic position and population density are supported by a network of transport (railway, road, sea and air) and communications that interconnects it to the other main metropolitan areas on the continent. These sets of cities are grouped according to various spatial models and occupy a specific territory that, in the case of the AMB, is located on the Mediterranean arch. Globally, Barcelona enjoys a leading position as a place for production and research, and as a tourist destination, business centre, cultural and innovative hub, and commercial and leisure harbour.
  • Barcelona Metropolis: 1975/2015
    The period 1975-2015 corresponds to the great growth of Barcelona under the PGM and its development as a large European metropolis.

    In these years the urban area of its metropolitan cities has doubled. The transformation has focused on modernising infrastructures, the change of scale of the urban fabric, formalising a new structure of green public spaces and the development of large metropolitan artefacts.

    Working sessions: Workshop 1 and Quaderns 1 i 2

The present

Current situation
  • New ways of living and working
    In the last forty years, there has been a substantial evolution in the metropolitan society and economy.

    The population has aged, the number of births has gone down and there is greater diversity as a result of international immigration. The industrial economy has been replaced by an economy of services to production, people and knowledge. Changes in the labour market have modified the model of a fully-employed person staying indefinitely in the same job, while changes in technology have widened the occupational structure and altered the relationship between production and territory.

    Our way of living and working has changed and, as a consequence, so has our behaviour. Opening hours and leisure activities have been extended in a city that never sleeps.

    What do you think about it?

    Working sessions: Workshop 3 and Quadern 4
  • The metropolitan form of economic activity
    The economic activities of the metropolis are diverse, dispersed and complex. They define the ground plan of the metropolis and largely determine the cityscape skyline that citizens perceive.

    The metropolitan area can be explained by contemporary forms of economic activity, grouped into three distinct strata: everyday trade, which revolves around markets and certain commercial formats (department stores, shopping malls); leisure and entertainment, which is intended not only for tourists but also local citizens in their spare time; and spaces of economic activity specialising in production, logistics, knowledge and the tertiary sector.

    Working sessions: Workshop 3 and Quadern 4
  • Public facilities in the metropolis
    Public services and facilities, like public spaces, support the welfare state and have a significant impact on the quality of life in the metropolis. They are dedicated to education, health, sports, leisure, culture and supplies.
    Over 3,000 of them have been built in the last few years, making sure that they relate to the pre-existing ones and significantly enrich the fabric of everyday dynamics. Improving this spatial relationship and the way this metropolitan network of facilities is managed is undoubtedly one of the main objectives for ensuring a more rational and fluid use of them.

    What do you think about it?
  • The residential urban fabric
    The thirty-six municipalities of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area are rooted in a set of towns and cities well situated in the territory. All saw significant growth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a strong residential component until the early twentieth century. Later, specialised areas with exclusive uses arose.
    This section focuses on the study of the urban fabric for residential use. Throughout the entire metropolitan area, twelve types of fabric have been recognised and defined. In each, five parameters are analysed: roads, compactness, housing density, population density and diversity of uses.
  • The centres of the metropolis
    The central spaces of a metropolis are those with the highest concentration of people. They are symbolic, civilian places located around the centres of power, public services and stations, near the great transport interchanges, in open spaces.

    They have a changing form and their degree of usage is variable. Some centralities arise from the superimposition of regular visits, while others are the scene of events. Some owe their identity to everyday life, others to the continuous central role they have played at particular moments in history.

    What do you think about it?
  • The landscape of the metropolis: ecology, leisure and production
    Streets, squares and parks of our cities can re-naturalise themselves and connect with metropolitan parks as well as the agricultural and natural areas that still remain. A new network of open spaces that will have all possible connectivities and be full of ecological potential, possibilities for leisure and productive capacities. An environmental and social network constituting one of the backbones of the metropolis.

    And you? Which is your landscape?

    Working sessions: Workshop 2 and Quadern 3
  • Metropolitan metabolism
    The city is the main habitat of human species; over half of humanity lives in a conurbation. The city is a physical space, but above all it is a functional space. Daily life develops and is maintained thanks to the constant flow of food, raw materials, energy, water and people. All this generates manufactured products, waste and emissions. This permanent cycle is the metropolitan metabolism. When we do not pay enough attention, environmental dysfunctions appear and our quality of life diminishes. The optimal functioning of the city helps reduce emissions and their impact on climate change.

    And you? How do you reduce your footprint?

    Working sessions: Workshop 5
  • New metropolitan landscapes
    In recent years, the metropolitan reality has shifted from an urban culture of compactness, squares and streets to experience a progressive expansion of its different areas, a fluidity of its borders and unclear interstices. The emergence of heavily specialised new spaces dedicated solely to ensuring the efficient movement of cars has resulted in the incorporation of new and powerful elements that structure the contemporary landscape. These are borders and latent spaces that will need to be understood to achieve a more efficient metropolitan overlap.

    And, what would you do?
  • Metropolitan mobility
    The mobility of people and goods in the metropolis has increased greatly in the last forty years, while it has gone from a radial pattern centred in Barcelona to a configuration of the road network articulated from municipal sub-centres. The public transport networks are better connected thanks to the policies of fare integration and greater inter-modality. For the majority, the compact urban structure favours walking and cycling within the urban centres, one of the strengths of mobility in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, especially in the central sector. It is essential to work towards sustainable mobility to help reduce the threat presented by the greenhouse effect.

    How do you move? Are you well connected?

    Working sessions: Workshop 5
  • Innovations in the city
    Historically, cities have been areas of creativity, progress and civilisation, places that at the same time facilitate the social interaction necessary for innovation. Today, the digitisation of the environment is transforming the way people interact, manage, move and live in the city. Each digital point provides data enabling us not only to visualise dynamics that had hitherto remained invisible, but also to create systems that act and respond in real time, while improving the use and quality of the urban environment.

    And you? Are you connected?

    Working sessions: Workshop 5
  • Metropolitan machine
    A scale model will be created to explain all the layers, all the realities of the city. The drawing of water paths, gas pipelines, sewers, metro lines... forests, roads... Can you imagine it?
  • Dynamic explanation of the metropolis
    The metropolitan reality evolves with time. While the physical form of a city is the result of a slow but dynamic construction, the behaviour of its inhabitants in the public space varies according to the time of day or the month of the year. We propose a double reading: from the modifications of the urban form and from the interactions of the citizens in a particular place and through the transport and communication networks. Our ability to identify both visions will be the first step towards an understanding of the urban strategies that are involved.

    What do you think about it? How do move? Where do you move around?

The future

From general plan to master plan
  • From PGM to PDU
    This metropolitan reality has been determined and managed for over 40 years through the 1976 Metropolitan General Plan (PGM). This plan was a very advanced technical document at the time it was drafted and has been modified many times since then, due to social and economic demands with the large transformation of the metropolitan area of Barcelona. The AMB intends to revise and signify the new challenges and opportunities through a participatory process in order to draft the Urban Master Plan. This public debate, which is still open, has counted on the participation of experts in many fields, technicians, organizations, groups and people committed with the territory. A series of workshops were organized on the more pressing issues in today's urban development. The web amb.cat is an open window to all, providing information and welcoming opinions. This exhibition is yet another step forward. 

    Welcome to the debate
  • Gallery of Opportunities. The Challenges of a Metropolitan City
    The description of the metropolitan reality shows the big spatial, social, economic and morphological dynamism. A temporary perspective shows some of the changes in momentum that have marked new trends. In this regard, the most recent crisis is an opportunity to redirect, once again, the processes to build the metropolis.

    The Urban Master Plan (PDU) must draw on the legacy of the Metropolitan General Plan (PGM), which has remained valid for four decades and has ultimately established a shared way of doing things. Today there is a need to meet the new challenges of our contemporary urban planning in line with the new environmental, social and organizational agendas. It is all about imagining spaces for innovation, culture, to improve the environment, how we want to shape our urban future, and many others, and all this using the essential tools of participatory mechanisms.

    This gallery offers a glimpse at just some of the many opportunities for the metropolitan cluster.

Educational approach

Educational action for Secondary School


Visits addressed to secondary education groups want to bring students to the exhibition by a guided tour in which an expert will explain the most interesting elements of each module and set up a dialogue with the students.

You must keep in mind the density of information of the exhibition, so it takes about 90 minutes to complete the visit.

The tour is free and you have to make an appointment writing to metropolisbarcelona@amb.cat or calling phone number  +34 935 069 367.



More details of visit contents in the Catalan website.