Nicholas SocratesUrban Design: Art, City, Society.Project: La Mina, 2009BarcelonaIn the 1920s Barcelona was the fastest growing city in Europe. The population of Barcelonaexpanded by 62 per cent during that decade and adjacent blue-collar suburbs like Hospitalet andSanta Coloma doubled and tripled in population. Modernization and industrialization were proceeding at a rapid pace. Migrants from nearby regions were flooding into the city to take jobs.By the 1930s the province of Catalonia, with about 6 million residents, contained about 70% of the manufacturing capacity of Spain. Barcelona had become Spain's largest city, with 1.5 million people.The rapid expansion of the city led to a serious housing shortage and a rapid rent inflation thathad rent rising up to 150% in many areas. The severe shortage of housing also led to serious problems of overcrowding and deterioration in the kind of housing available to the workingclass. There was some public housing -- inexpensive concrete buildings -- but only 2,200 unitshad been built. The city relied overwhelmingly on the private real estate market to providehousing.When the 1992 Olympics arrived in the city it brought with it more than a few hundred runners, bikers jumpers and swimmers; millions of tourists flanked the city, certainly a monetary bonusfor tourism sectors, but hotels, parking lots, restaurants and the like needed to be built toaccommodate the millions of people that Barcelona would host. There was a problem withspace! As the city is built between the sea and the mountains, urban sprawl is not an option.Meaning housing costs would sky rocket and Barcelonites, pushed out of their own territory. Thegames indeed did spank a suburban newness to the city, but did little in solving the city's housingshortage.In 2004 Barcelona hosted a different kind of Olympics -- a five-month cultural and intellectualforum that was bent on solving the world's problems.