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History; Parked

The faded glamour of Barcelona’s car parks.

Category: Cultura | 26 January, 2015
Editor: Paul-Simon Geddis

When Cerdá set out his grand plan for Eixample, one thing he didn’t take into account was cars. Still it’s testament to the flexibility of his design, that as car ownership increased throughout the 20th century, the interior courtyards and basements originally earmarked for stables or workshops were repurposed as car parks. Today, signs flashing a green P or a yellow Lliure are as ubiquitous in the area as Gallician restaurants under chinese management.


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parking barcelona paseo de gracia 44 History; Parked


Despite (or perhaps because of) my lack of car or license, I’ve long been fascinated by carparks. Like a doctors waiting room, or a job center, the car park is a liminal space in the city, judged on utilitarian rather than aesthetic terms. At the same time, how much of our lives has been spent passing through them? I haven’t done the math, but it’s got to be comparable to eating chocolate, or doing the washing up. And while they might be viewed as a necessary evil by most people these cathedrals to convenience also occupy an important place in our popular consciousness. How many movies feature a car chase or a fatal stabbing in a car park? How many music videos take place between the headlights and the concrete? From Ballard to Beyonce, the carpark has been a cypher for modernity, but also for the entropic flipside to our hyperconsumerist lifestyle.


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parking barcelona paseo de gracia 66 History; Parked

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But for how much longer? According to numerous reports car ownership in the western world is in terminal decline. Since 2005 there’s been a 9% reduction in the number of new cars sold in European cities. And it’s a trend that shows few signs of abating. With the economic crisis, improved public transport and the rise of internet shopping all being given as reasons for this decline, I wanted to document the beauty and idiosyncracy of these spaces as a kind of prelude to their inevitable obsolescence.


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parking barcelona paseo de gracia 100 History; Parked

Category: Cultura | 26 January, 2015
Editor: Paul-Simon Geddis




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