Catalan version archive / Number 59. 2002   
Agenda 21: future possible
Agenda 21 - A Question of Balance +
By Joan Clos.
by Imma Mayol
President of the Urban Ecology and Sustainability Commission
by Dr Ramon Folch
Sociologist. Member of the Urban Strategies Advisory Council
and the Barcelona Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council.
by Josep Xercavins i Valls
Co-ordinating Professor at UPC for the Ad hoc Secretariat of the World Forum on Civil Society Networks - UBUNTU
by Joan Subirats
Director of the Institute for Government and Public Policy, Autonomous University of Barcelona
by Txema Castiella / Teresa Franquesa
Technical Co-ordinators of Barcelona's Agenda 21
by Enric Tello
Full Professor of History of the Economy at University of Barcelona. Member of "Ecologistes en Acció"
by Jordi Renom i Sotorra
Managing Director of the Metropolitan Waste Agency
by Jaume Terrades
CREAF, Autonomous University of Barcelona
City and Region +
by Juli Esteban
Head of the Urban Planning Studies Office
Barcelona Town Council
by Ferran Porta i Visa
Director of Environmental Institutional and Co-ordination of AGBAR

Page 2
Agenda 21 - A Question of Balanceup
by Joan Clos
Mayor of Barcelona

The "ecological footprint" is a useful concept for calculating the impact of a human group on the planet. It determines the extra space that such a group needs, outside its physical limits, in order to function, and on that basis it specifies the amount of territory that each person within that group requires or "uses". In theory, the richer the society and the more numerous its human group, the larger the ecological footprint, which always has a negative impact on the planet. A city is a type of human group that occupies more territory than actually belongs to it, because it physically compromises distant areas in order to maintain its activities, since urban life would otherwise be impossible.

The ecological footprint is a statistical measure that does not take into account individual acts of depredation, but rather their combined effect. Barcelona's ecological footprint is 3.26 ha per inhabitant. Its worst indicator is energy consumption, i.e. the amount of forest required to absorb our emissions of CO2, which amounted to 1.02 ha per inhabitant in 1996. It is probably larger now, since we have more automobiles, although Barcelona's ecological footprint will shrink, thanks to the steps that we are taking to protect the environment.

The problem stems from the fact that the Earth is finite, and if an inhabitant of the developed North occupies more territory than is his or her due, it is obvious that someone else will have to occupy less. This means that our development is supported by the underdevelopment of other parts of the world.

When the countries and cities of the world have met in the past at the major environmental summits sponsored by the UN and at subsequent stages, to agree on the paths to follow in future leading away from the foreseeable disaster, sustainability has been treated at great length, considering all the aspects of balance involved, including economic aspects. The Aalborg Charter, which Barcelona signed in 1995, placed cities in a decisive position, citing them, on the one hand, as the largest entity causing environmental impact and, on the other hand, as the smallest entity that can take remedial action. This makes them the best placed candidates for leading the process of conversion to sustainability. I would add a further factor: cities hold the key to the major issues of the 21st century, owing to their proximity to the problems and their capacity for management, which therefore must be fostered, and because cities generate the stable social structures that we need in order to be able to change the world. This does not mean that cities are doing everything right in respect of sustainability, or in respect of anything, for that matter, but rather that they are in the best position to learn how to do things properly.

The Barcelona Model, Again
As a city, Barcelona has a suitable model for a sustainable future: it is compact and dense, with a density that has evolved from that of the 1970s, based on mere agglomeration and little else. We are now dealing with an intelligent, well-outfitted and planned density, i.e. a deliberate one. In other words, we have, in theory, a good structure in respect of minimum consumption of land and need for movement, which are the two major stumbling blocks of diffuse cities, where housing is segregated in low-density residential neighbourhoods far from any central core, giving rise to an excessive use of private vehicles. In Barcelona, on the other hand, 56% of all trips within the city are made on foot. We might add that this justifies the considerable effort that we have made in recent years to increase the space reserved for pedestrians and make it more attractive, safer and, where possible, removed from motor vehicles.

However, as with all the major issues affecting Barcelona, sustainability is not an exclusively local question, but rather a metropolitan one. On the metropolitan scale the results are not so encouraging, and Barcelona's citizens must take part of the blame. In line with the worldwide (in the developed world) trend of leaving the city for the modern, or postmodern, version of the "little house and garden" model, many citizens have exchanged their flats for terraced houses, setting off consumption of land at a rate that has doubled the occupied surface of the metropolitan area in the past 25 years. This dispersal of housing, unaccompanied by a suitable transport infrastructure policy, has given rise to traffic that is unsustainable in the strictest sense of the term. While within Barcelona private vehicles are used for only 26% of trips, that percentage stands at 65% for incoming and outgoing trips. Investments in public transport will mitigate this undesirable effect somewhat, so we can be moderately optimistic in this connection.

There are also two other reasons for optimism: the trend to leaving the city has passed and people are now returning to the city in search of a quality urban life. New growth in Barcelona is now directed inwards, reworking its territory (since the city no longer has any space for outward growth), and this is being done in a good ecological style. The example of development of the 22@ district, with transformation of the obsolete industrial fabric of Poblenou to allow installation of clean, high-tech industry, housing, commerce and leisure facilities, all together, is a move in the direction of the "central core next door" that makes a city a city, and above all, that makes a city sustainable. Agenda 21, Barcelona's commitment to sustainability, has nothing to show this emerging neighbourhood, which will be equipped with the most advance techniques for recycling and use of clean energy. We might say the same of the urban development of the area that will host the Forum 2004 and that will remain with the city as an area of economic, academic and leisure activities.

Policy equals Pedagogy
In Barcelona, we prepared our Agenda 21 in an innovative manner, with the commitment and participation of entities, organisations and citizens, bringing together 3,500 different voices that made contributions, criticism and suggestions. It was a collective undertaking, one that set out the objectives that the city wishes to obtain over a relatively long span, by 2012. In order to determine just how far we are from reaching each goal, Agenda 21 provides a series of indicators that give a rather precise diagnosis, and Barcelona is not doing so badly at all. As it turns out, where we are doing worst is precisely in the areas that define us as prosperous city, which, all in all, does serve as a sort of consolation.

We are doing poorly in connection with generation of waste. At present, Barcelona produces 1.35 kg of waste per inhabitant per day, meaning that we throw away too much and that, even though we are improving, we still do not recycle much (selective collection accounts for 12% of total waste). We also do poorly in air pollution, since our emissions of CO2 per inhabitant are still too high, and we are a bit lame in the indicators defined by Agenda 21 as showing "social cohesion", measured on the basis of two parameters. One is the failure rate in schools, relatively low in Barcelona but a cause for concern nonetheless, although it is peculiar to wealthy societies (poor countries are still fighting illiteracy). The other is the price of housing, and in this aspect, Barcelona is an expensive city; in this respect there is no choice but to give wholehearted backing to rehabilitation policies and the rental market. When we speak of rehabilitation, we are speaking of revitalising urban and neighbourhood centres, of breathing in new life there to compensate for the ageing of the population, of making the city more compact.

In all other areas, Barcelona is excelling and will continue to excel in future, when our present commitments take shape and become a reality, with tangible results. However, sustainability is not a policy that can be applied from the top down. Sustainability as a paradigm is only meaningful when it is assimilated on an individual basis by all citizens. Here, policy equals pedagogy. We have made a great effort at teaching aimed at pupils and students, but perhaps the time has come to involve adults as well, particularly addressing the message specifically to older people, who are often reluctant to change their habits and adopt new criteria, for example.
It is not a matter of improving how we do the things that we are doing badly, but rather of doing things differently, of changing, without losing quality of life. We must have clear objectives, like the ones provided by Agenda 21, but above all we must be able to communicate them and defend them with convincing arguments. It is a question of balance. Not just for us, not just for Barcelona, but for the whole world.

Page 5
by Imma Mayol
President of the Urban Ecology and Sustainability Commission

In July of this year over 120 institutions and organisations of the city of Barcelona signed the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability. With this signature, universities, leading professional and business associations, trade unions, many ecologist and environmentalist organisations, enterprises, youth and citizen groups, and Barcelona's Town Council and its municipal groups culminated the process of drawing up the city's Agenda 21.

Barcelona's Agenda 21 follows the guidelines established at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, with the aim of attaining a model for development different from the one currently in place, to satisfy the needs of present generations without compromising the capacity of future generations to satisfy their needs. This is what is known as sustainable development, development that is durable, efficient and rational in its use of resources and more equitable in the distribution of benefits. The recent Johannesburg summit revealed that cities have assumed their global responsibility and have responded to the appeal by the United Nations: 6,000 cities around the world have drafted or are preparing action plans known as "Local Agenda 21s" to foster the necessary changes.

Barcelona's Agenda 21 is based on a broad participatory process, initiated and promoted by the Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council and in which thousands of citizens and hundreds of groups and organisations have taken part. The final text of the Commitment comprises 10 shared objectives for the period 2002-2012 and its signature represents a unique event in participatory processes. Public and private, social, economic and environmental agents thereby undertake our commitment and we invite the whole of Barcelona's population to join in this task. Each signatory institution and organisation undertakes to prepare action plans to contribute to attaining these goals. The far-reaching processes of change in our habits and patterns of production and consumption required to make the transition to a more sustainable city must be based on participation and co-responsibility.

This monographic dossier deals with the characteristics of the process of drafting Barcelona's Agenda 21. In addition, a number of experts and members of the Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council provide an overview of Barcelona's situation in relation to the key aspects of this Agenda, such as town planning, waste management, biodiversity, the water cycle and energy, and analyse the challenges facing us in each of these areas. There is also a look at the history of world summits dealing with environmental issues, from Stockholm to Johannesburg. This recent major conference on sustainable development should, precisely, help to strengthen our commitment, at both the local and global levels, to sustainable development and to turn the objectives and intentions of Agenda 21 into action. Agenda 21 is a fundamental, individual and collective commitment to a new model for society.


Page 6
by Dr Ramon Folch
Sociologist. Member of the Urban Strategies Advisory Council
and the Barcelona Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council.

What is a "ploma d'aigua"? Almost no one in Barcelona remembers any more, even though back in the 1950s, when I was a boy, everyone knew exactly what it meant. It is a measure of flow, the exact quantity of which varies from region to region. In Barcelona, it is equal to 2,200 litres daily. A flow of 2,200 litres in 24 hours is the same as 0.0254 litres per second, in other words a constant trickle of 25 cubic centimetres per second, a relatively insignificant volume. Nevertheless, fifty or one hundred years ago, each household in Barcelona was entitled to half, or one third, of that amount. This constant water supply was stored in tanks on the rooftops of buildings, one for each flat, so that faucets would supply a sufficient stream of water. This was what having "tank water" meant.

The system had numerous drawbacks. A peak demand could empty a small tank, and a substantial amount of water was simply wasted through the overflow valve when there was no demand. The charge was a fixed rate, for the number of "plomes" agreed by contract, regardless of whether the water was actually used or lost through the overflow, a situation that often gave rise to unfair situations. Furthermore, tanks were seldom tightly closed and were potential sources of contagion. But those with tank water were envied by their neighbours who had to obtain their water daily from public fountains and carry it home in barrels and buckets to those buildings without lifts. Then, with the arrival of running water, water jugs and water tanks gradually disappeared, along with the memory of "plomes".

Cities, like people, change constantly. We have forgotten what a "ploma d'aigua" is because there are (almost) no water tanks left any more. Barcelona has running water, of course, but this is not the result of some miracle, but rather due to an executive decision taken at a time when certain conservative attitudes, favouring tanks and "plomes" had to be overcome and involving the total replacement of an outdated system of mains that was inadequate to deal with the higher water pressure. Replacing all of a city's mains and guaranteeing a constant level of water pressure in spite of varying demand was an expensive and technically complex task. But it was done.

It was done, just as the network of fibre optics has been installed, or just as electricity and gas mains and telephone lines were installed in the past. Barcelona, like all cities in the developed world, has reinvented itself repeatedly. Change is not only possible, it is inevitable. The Eixample underwent a drastic change: laying cobblestones and paving streets was a tremendous task that profoundly modified the city's appearance; providing streetlighting with gas and later electricity made, literally, a difference as between night and day, not to mention the laying of tramways and the construction of the underground. We now have pedestrian areas that would have been unthinkable decades ago and trams are making their reappearance. Things change.
Who, then, can say that the city must be as it is? In fact, just what determines what a city is like? Barcelona is and will be what we want it to be insofar as we are able to make it conform to our aspirations. Therefore, we could, beyond any doubt, make it a sustainable city.

From Water Mains to 22@
Some people, perhaps many, are not in agreement with the Town Council's approach to the transformation of Poblenou, under the "22@" plan. They see the plan as an exercise in speculation that largely ignores the urban perceptions of the people who live there. I do not agree; I do not believe that it is based on speculation, now that I have seen the plan. On the contrary, it is an exercise in recuperation of future added value to channel it towards investments that will be for the benefit of all. Why then do the residents of the neighbourhood, or at least a substantial portion of them, not see it in this light?

It is striking to note the relative importance of Poblenou on the map of Barcelona: it accounts for one third of the total area of the Eixample. But for the majority of Barcelona's inhabitants, whether they live in Les Corts or Gràcia, to the east of Meridiana the city simply disappears, with the possible exception of Sant Andreu. The extension of the Gran Via beyond Plaça de les Glòries, with the potent rise of La Verneda, partially rescued this part of the city, but for most people, Poblenou remains a sort of black hole. Most of Barcelona's inhabitants know nothing of Poblenou.

Poblenou is a relatively modern neighbourhood of the former municipality of Sant Martí de Provençals, which was incorporated into Barcelona in 1897. The existence of Sant Martí, which stretched from Tres Turrons to the sea, between what is Carrer Marina and the Horta torrent, is documented as far back as 989 ad, giving it nine centuries of history as an entity in its own right. During the second half of the 18th century, the open land along the seafront was occupied by Barcelona workshops, calico factories printing linen and cotton textiles, an activity that required large amounts of water power and extensive areas for drying the fabrics in the sun. This marked the birth of the "Calico Flats" along the sea front and of the textile factories dedicated to dying and dressing. At the same time, the Teulat or Poblenou neighbourhood began forming, to be abandoned later by calico factories, which were replaced by spinning and weaving factories and other industrial activities driven by the innovation of steam engines: the colourful mosaic of printed fabrics was replaced by brick factories with their smoking chimney-stacks. Change followed upon change.

The living conditions of the industrial workers crowded into the steam-powered factories were very bad. The author Xavier Benguerel, himself born in Poblenou, gives a stark description of those conditions in his novel Icària, Icària ... (1974) when referring to the Godó Germans factory, known popularly as el Cànem (Hemp): "Deformed, rachitic, grimy children of nine or ten, forced to work twelve or fourteen hours daily; bloated, paunchy women, stained with the colours of hunger and stench, of poverty that held them in its grip until they died at the age of twenty-five or thirty, or at the very most and if they were exceptionally lucky, the age of forty." The desire to escape from such misery fuelled people's dreams and a group of followers of the French utopian socialist Étienne Cabet (1788-1856), the founder of Icarianism, attempted to set up a sort of commune in the Teulat neighbourhood, logically with the name Icària. Poverty and utopia existed side by side in Poblenou. Above all, they co-existed with the desire for change.

The nature of the zone as a sort of black hole therefore has a long history, as does the hope for a better future. A future that has now begun. The first edition of the Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana (1978) gives the following description of Poblenou: "The Barcelona-Mataró rail line and the factories set parallel to the sea front form a barrier between the residential area and the Marbella beach, now covered in refuse from the factories and occupied by the outflows of a number of sewage mains." The present situation, with the rail line gone, the new Vila Olímipica and the beaches rehabilitated, bears little or no resemblance to that description, dating from merely twenty-five years ago. The plan 22@ plan intends to take this change much farther. But, as I have already mentioned, the aims of the Town Council do not appear to coincide with the aspirations of the people who live in the area. What is the problem here?

A 22@ Neighbourhood in a 21@ City
Utilities and sewage mains in Poblenou fall considerably below acceptable levels. Some of the neighbourhood's streets are blocked by abandoned factories and old buildings, many of them of substantial architectural value, that must either be knocked down or rehabilitated. But rehabilitated for what use? And how is the cost of the required improvements to sewage mains and utilities to be covered? How are we to reverse the decline of an old 19th century industrial neighbourhood? Through urban development, of course, by making Poblenou into a vigorous portion of a modern, diverse, compact city. From the standpoint of sustainability, this is a laudable goal and it seems obvious that it is the way to apply 21st century realism to the attractive 19th century utopias: welcome back, Icària.

The 22@ plan affects 117 blocks of Poblenou classified as industrial land (category 22a in the current zoning system) that will be re-zoned for residential and new industrial use (thus the name 22@). The plan provides for construction of 3,200,000 m2 of new or rehabilitated cover in the next fifteen to twenty years. This will involve creation of room for new emerging industries, construction of between 3,500 and 4,000 new housing units subject to some sort of price controls, freeing up of 220,000 m2 of land for new public-use facilities and green belts, and increasing the number of jobs in the area by between 100,000 and 130,000.

It is certainly a captivating plan. Particularly since it will serve both to stem the decay of a neighbourhood and to consolidate the city's productive system. In fact, Poblenou will maintain its industrial character, although in a very different way from when it housed calico or textile factories or transport depots (which moved into the neighbourhood some time ago, as the factories declined). In the 22@ Poblenou, housing will co-exist with design centres and electronics factories in a diverse, ecologically efficient area of high urban quality. In short, an area with many of the material characteristics advocated by the new model of sustainability.

The key is to create added value and reinvest it in the neighbourhood. I believe that this is a positive approach: without added value there is no room to manoeuvre. Equity consists of the redistribution of wealth, not the socialisation of indigence. It may well be that the planned volumes of construction along the Llacuna axis are not the most appropriate - the local residents do not want skyscrapers - or even that they contravene certain legitimate expectations; perhaps. Nevertheless, the idea behind the 22@ plan for the transformation of Poblenou is a sound one: convert an obsolete industrial area into a combination of residential neighbourhood and advanced tertiary use and reinvest the profits in urban renewal. It is a plan that can work.

It is a plan that can work, but it is also clearly a self-involved one. In the absence of complicity and negotiated agreement, we could slide towards enlightened despotism, at best. Negotiated agreement is an annoyance because too many people look out only for their own interests and therefore cannot properly represent others in such a process, but in any event we must try. This is the main difference between technical appropriateness and valid sustainability: sustainability is based on agreed feasibility. Perhaps the problem with the 22@ plan is that it is weak on the complicity side. I would tend to find that acceptable, since I know how hard it is to manage groups with claims to press. It is difficult, but it must be done. The 22@ plan is a good idea that has only achieved a partial consensus and it might therefore appear to be a bad idea. Perhaps the technical strength of the 22@ plan needs to be backed up by the involving, collective hopes of Icària.

Collective hopes: that is the key. Barcelona has experienced moments of high collective hopes and has turned them into substantial accomplishments. Therefore, the challenge of sustainability should be seen for what it really is: a captivating change of model. In the end, this is the objective of the Local Agenda 21s, which aim to transform stagnant realities through agreed changes that are not only necessary but also feasible. In other words, the goal here is not only 22@ but also 21@. The 21@ of 22@: this should be the objective. And not just for Poblenou, but for the whole city.

Barcelona's Agenda 21, the City's 21@
Barcelona's Agenda 21 is getting off the ground. It has been subtitled the "Citizen Commitment to Sustainability". It is a good start, since commitments arise as a result of the agreement of goals. Barcelona's Agenda 21 (A21BCN to its friends) is an agreed commitment. Reasonably agreed, of course, because no one would suppose that a city with one and a half million inhabitants could join together in a participatory process involving a substantial majority. We must bear this point firmly in mind: the government's self-involvement cannot be counterbalanced by tumultuous assemblies. What needs to be done is to detect citizens' points of view, involve significant forces and opinion leaders and then take the appropriate decisions. In short, it is question of governing, an exercise that is equidistant from autocratic tyranny and from chaos with the excuse of populist arguments.

A21BCN was formulated in that way, after a process that lasted three years (even longer, if we count the tentative prior phase) and in which almost two hundred organisations and several thousand citizens took part ( It was approved by the Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council in May 2002 and authorised by the Town Council the following month, and is now being implemented, against the backdrop of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, August-September 2002). This implementation aims to transform Barcelona gradually into a sustainable city, an infinitely more ambitious goal than making it environmentally tidy.

The underlying theme has a vast scope: it is a question of converting the city's inhabitants into a social body that thinks and acts sustainably. Democracy does not create democrats, but instead it is democrats who set up a democracy, starting with a sufficiently large and active number of democrats to give rise then to a democratic majority. We have recent experience of this. In the same way, sustainability is achieved by sustainabilists acting as such, and not the reverse. Thus, A21BCN has already completed a substantial part of its groundwork during its own gestation, by attaining the commitment of several thousand citizens to the principles of sustainability. But a much broader commitment is required, along with further action, change and reversal of trends.

All in all, A21BCN is a process that is now progress. It is based on a diagnosis made by thirteen teams of experts over a period of months and it will be implemented gradually through successive action plans. It is a programme with ten objectives and one hundred specific lines of action aimed at overcoming dysfunctions and establishing new dynamics. Mobility, social cohesion, sustainability of productive processes and a diverse city structured around a quality public space are some of the basic components. Developing and applying these aspects in depth will not be an easy task, nor will it be possible without collective hopes to back up the ongoing effort, which will be rewarded through the constant gratification of the successive results that we can expect to attain.

For example, mobility must be improved in keeping with sustainabilist criteria to achieve a total reversal of the current situation, in which a relatively small number of private vehicles (yes, a relatively small number, since they account for only 25% of internal trips) cause a relatively large number of traffic jams and congestion. We do not aim to modify the current model gradually, but instead to adopt a different model. We know that it can be done and it has already been done on occasion: we changed from public fountains to tank water to running water. If we have forgotten "plomes d'aigua", we can also forget streets blocked by double-parked cars. Just as we succeeded in improving the flow of water from faucets, we will succeed in improving urban accessibility.

A21BCN must therefore be the city's 21@. The Universal Forum of Cultures - Barcelona 2004 will shed light on the question within a couple of years' time: how the Besòs River will be transformed, how 22@ will be progressing, what will be happening to the rest of the city. Then will be the time to take a look at the twenty or so indicators that A21BCN has established to start off with, and we will then know whether we are still measuring with "plomes" or have commenced the fortunately Neo-Icarian age of sustainable running water. If we can be sure of anything, we can be sure of change.

Page 11

by Josep Xercavins i Valls
Co-ordinating Professor at UPC for the Ad hoc Secretariat of the World Forum on Civil Society Networks - UBUNTU

The Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 marked a milestone in history, owing to its important results, having paved the way for the more progressive world summits of the 1990s, and to the extremely relevant issues that it raised at the end of the 20th century.
However, it was in fact at the United Nations Human Environment Summit in Stockholm (1972) that it was "officially" established that the western model for development had important environmental consequences.
At the same time, the so-called "limits discourse" returned to the fore: are there limits to the human race's current direction of development on Earth? How many humans, satisfying how many needs, for how many generations, etc. can the Earth support? In effect, these questions were officially tabled at that Summit, the first of the summits that we could label as environmental, and at the time the response did not go beyond proposals aimed at mitigating the negative effects that had been detected, rather than addressing the causes.

It took over ten years for all that initial magma to give rise to the Brundtland Report (1987), which put forward the concept of sustainable development, understood as the type of development that the human race would have to carry out on Earth in order to satisfy its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy theirs.
The proposals of Herman Daily (1990) on how to handle non-renewable resources (use them according to principles of depreciation), renewable resources (avoid using them at rates higher than their own natural replenishment rates) and waste (avoid generating it at rates higher than its natural absorption rate) marked, perhaps, the end of an era that saw the birth and evolution of so-called ecological thought and activism, which attained its majority at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, officially called the Environment and Development Summit.

Both its level of analysis and, especially, its programmatic results established qualitative and quantitative paradigms. The declaration signed by the heads of state attending the Rio summit was lacking in strength and failed to become the Earth Charter that we have yet to draft to set out principles and values with an eye to the distant future. Nevertheless, its main statements on conservation of biodiversity, protection of forests and climate change have since been echoed in all aspects of world politics. With those statements, then, the very concept of sustainable development had reached maturity.
In fact, and for example, the process of international accords in connection with climate change, or, more accurately, global warming, known popularly as the 1997 Kyoto Accords, trace their origin back to the Earth Summit and the aforementioned declaration. In spite of all its weaknesses and the defections that have occurred, seldom has the international community, led by the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), dedicated so much effort and taken so many measures to begin addressing an environmental problem that could cause serious damage to the Earth's systems or, at very least, give rise to an increase in natural disasters.

Unlike at Stockholm, the Rio de Janeiro summit had sufficient information to pose and respond to questions on the causes and therefore on realistic and effective solutions to so-called environmental problems. Therefore, the most outstanding product of the summit was the document entitled Programme 21, providing a plan of action for globally sustainable development.
In any event, it is significant that the (misnamed) Agenda 21s have now been drafted and that we have seen their commencement at the local level and mainly at the local level in Catalonia.
Agenda 21, the action programme for the 21st century produced in Rio de Janeiro, was not, however, conceived only for the local level. Furthermore, it was far from being conceived to deal only with the environmental aspects of sustainable development.

In fact, from the start it was basically countries that were meant to draw up their Agenda 21s as a plan of action for their sustainable development, taking into account the environmental, social and economic aspects involved in that undertaking.
This is clear when we look at the four main sections of the table of contents of the document Programme 21, produced at Rio in 1992: 1) Social and economic dimensions (of development, mainly in southern countries and giving the eradication of poverty top priority); 2) Conservation and management of resources for development (with full acknowledgement that the unsustainable trends in consumerism in northern countries constitute the main and almost sole cause of environmental problems); 3) Strengthening of the role played by leading groups (comprising all groups that must be aware of and contribute to solution of the problems analysed, i.e. governments, NGOs, young people, women, trade unions, etc.); 4) Means of performance (which, as usual, and at least since then, have not been forthcoming, either on the part of the world or of individual states).

The homework that needed to be done at the international, national and local levels, then, has only been done in part, at the local level. Section 28, Article 28.2 of the Rio 1992 Programme 21 (initiatives by local authorities) sets out the following objectives: "By 1996, most local governments of each country should have carried out a process of consultation with their respective populations and reached a consensus on a Local Agenda 21 for the community." This is what has been done here, somewhat late but very thoroughly, as I have already mentioned.

Nevertheless, we have made the mistake of consistently failing to take into account the social and economic factors that are closely and inseparably linked to the environmental factors. These have certainly also been the aspects that have prevented a more comprehensive preparation of Agenda 21s at the levels where social and economic responsibilities are precisely much clearer and much more important, and where, in short, the keys to the sustainability of societies are held.
And so, it is in a context of multiple default on the commitments undertaken in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and of clear worsening of the world situation (both in terms of the environment and of social issues, which are more unbalanced and unjust than ever before, around the world) that the international community this year is approaching the United Nations 3rd Environmental Summit, the Johannesburg summit, with its official title referring to sustainable development.
As I write these lines, I am privileged to be taking part in the Bali convention, the final preparatory meeting for the Johannesburg summit, which will be held at the end of August this year.

The international community that will meet there is a highly divided one and the most recent world summit meetings, dominated by globalisation and neo-liberal politics, do not suggest that any clear remedy will be forthcoming.
In effect, last year at Doha, the World Trade Organisation started up once again what the G77 (group of developing countries) and the anti-globalisation protests had stopped at Seattle, when it undertook a new round of negotiations for deregulating international trade. Even the principle of precaution, one of the basic pillars of common sense in connection with sustainability, has been thoroughly disqualified: a country is only entitled to ban importation of a product suspected of violating the principle of precaution if it can be proved to be clearly harmful - precisely the contrary of what the principle of precaution demands.

In Monterrey at the beginning of this year, the summit for financing world development did not provide the financial resources needed to deal with the social and economic challenges of the millennium summit (eradication of poverty, famine, infant mortality, etc.). The rich countries maintain that the market is the best means for generating such financing, in spite of the fact that the situation in Argentina suggests just the opposite.
In this light, it does not appear that the unsustainability of the North is likely to be remedied, nor that the sustainable development of the South is possible at present on the basis of economic viability financed, naturally, by the rich countries.
As always in the past, it looks like things will have to get even worse before we are ready for a transformation. If this is once again the case, Johannesburg will not yet be capable of changing our direction and setting us on course to an effective solution for the human race's problems on this planet.



Page 14
by Joan Subirats
Director of the Institute for Government and Public Policy, Autonomous University of Barcelona

In connection with the broad definitions of the aspirations of local communities, one of the central issues in looking to the future is that of sustainability, in the environmental and social senses of the term. Many see this debate at present as somewhat rhetorical or removed from the most pressing problems that each municipality must deal with. Nevertheless, I sincerely believe that sustainability is a core issue for any municipality that wishes to plan its future. Many local institutions, and very significantly Barcelona's Town Council, have given the subject serious consideration and have, to a greater or lesser extent, adapted their agenda to address these new perspectives. However, the aim of this article is to defend a prior assumption: a city cannot be sustainable unless its citizens assume responsibility in this respect and change their perceptions and habits. This is true in respect of sustainability, particularly if we define a sustainable city as one that chooses coherent options not only on strictly environmental issues, such as land use, consumption of natural resources and mobility, but also regarding such fundamental and interconnected aspects as the model for economic growth, plans for social cohesion and inclusion, citizen rights and the spread of information and communication technologies.

The local community is a conglomerate of interacting individuals and groups, a conglomerate of individuals and groups that depend on each other to a greater or lesser extent. They also maintain relations that are strongly continuous to a greater or lesser extent. There is a growing conviction that quality of life and satisfactory civic co-existence depend less on the presence of a strong and sovereign authority than on a universally shared sense of responsibility for what happens in the community. Responsibility on the part of each of us, according to our capacity and resources and without allowing this to diminish the specific responsibility of each player. Interdependence, continuity and absence of a sovereign authority with the ability to decide for all at all times are characteristics that are usually listed to define a network. A network of players that, at the local level, are ultimately responsible in one way or another, by commission or omission, for the local dynamics that are created.

From the environmental and social standpoint, it seems increasingly obvious that urban density is an important factor for the future of local communities and their sustainability. It is difficult to maintain a sense of belonging and community in a diffuse urban environment. The dimensions of Barcelona and its neighbourhoods, its local communities, have the effect of making us feel and be more complex persons. In cities, we learn to live with unfamiliar people, with different people. In dense communities, the distances permit relations and interchanges without unreasonable costs in respect of mobility and resources. The density of local communities prevents often irreversible impacts and pressure on external natural resources. Dense, compact communities impose mixture and prevent or impede social segmentation. Urban functions and uses are more accessible and social interactions and relations are more intensive. Overall, density facilitates environmental and social sustainability and this is a crucial factor if we wish to ensure continuity and success in the future. Density has certain drawbacks, such as a more intensive use of public spaces and the corresponding greater wear and tear, giving rise to a potential erosion of co-existence. This makes it very important to maintain a constant tension in density/civic-mindedness/collective co-responsibility for the public space.

Who is to take charge of all this? Relations between local communities and their representative institutions must be based upon principles of collective co-responsibility and citizen participation. There is a growing trend to speak less of government and more of capacity to govern. The governance of cities and local communities can no longer be conceived as the competence of town councils, of local representative authorities. It must be seen as a collective issue in which the conventional rules of hierarchy are no longer valid and where mechanisms for co-ordination and co-responsibility with the social agents and players present in the community must be established. This is the only way that we can deal collectively with the complexity of future challenges. This is particularly true of a city such as Barcelona, whose dimensions could represent a potential drawback, but many of whose neighbourhoods and inhabitants, on the other hand, maintain a sense of identity that could allow such collective sentiments to contribute to a stronger response to these challenges.

In this context, we should like to focus here on the issue of how to influence citizens to attain changes in the dynamics of consumption, to foster routines and habits that do not constitute obstacles to the achievement of these goals and, in general, a more active approach to the search for urban models that respond more appropriately to the challenges of sustainability. It is important to bear in mind that everyone would agree that, regardless of the new technical alternatives available, if people do not co-operate we will not be able to progress towards societies that can attain the ambitious and, to a certain extent ambiguous, goal of sustainable development. In this connection, the dynamics involved in the positions taken in the Local Agenda 21s1 clearly underline this fact and point out the difficulty of advancing at a rate faster than the advance of the people themselves, and the importance of mechanisms for participation and consensus.

What the Citizens of Barcelona Think
Not long ago,2 a survey was carried out of 1,200 inhabitants of Barcelona aged over 18. The results of the survey show that the basis for progress in Barcelona is acceptable.
These results shed light on a number of issues:
· Perceptions and opinions in respect of Barcelona's environmental situation and in respect of the actions that the Town Council is taking or could take in this connection.
· The degree of information on environmental problems and sustainability policies.
· The habits and behaviour of Barcelona's citizens in connection with aspects relating to sustainability and environmental problems.
· The commitment and attitudes of Barcelona's citizens in respect of present and future actions relating to sustainability and the environment.

In interpreting the results of the survey, it is important to bear in mind two general considerations: firstly, informants were advised that they would be asked questions on "habits and values in respect of the environment and sustainability", a fact that could influence the informant to respond "in favour" of what they believed was expected of them; secondly, and on a related subject, the issues of sustainability and the environment are considered at present to be "politically correct" and therefore a bias towards pro-environmental attitudes and statements may be expected.

If we look at the general considerations that we can extract from the survey, we first find a reaction to the status of Barcelona as a Mediterranean city, one that is dense and compact. Barcelona's inhabitants, who have a very good perception of the standard of living in Barcelona, see this fact as positive. Structural elements, such as climate and the size of the city, are important factors here, but also noteworthy are aspects relating to the character and social habits of the people, such as co-existence between neighbours, and to social and economic development, in reference to the wide range of services and facilities. All of this adds up to good quality urban life. On the other hand, they have a more negative perception of factors such as air and water pollution, noise and sanitation. In general, they feel that the Town Council could do more to deal with these problems, although they rate positively the efforts that have been made in the area of parks and gardens, public transport and cleaning of the city's beaches.

We cannot classify the perception of the city's problems as highly negative. There is by no means a sensation of a critical situation in respect of certain factors. Aside from the issues already mentioned, there are a number of danger signals in connection, for example, with dog excrement on the streets or motorcycle noise; however, the problems linked to use the of automobiles are seen as less serious than we might have expected. The number of people who walk to their destinations in the city, taking advantage of its size and density, remains very high and there is, in general, little concern in respect of the public transport system, which receives a reasonably good rating.

In general, we can consider the population of Barcelona poorly-informed, particularly with regard to everything relating to the environment, and even more poorly-informed on the concept of sustainability and its consequences for the model of lifestyle and development. The prevailing situation is one of a highly compartmentalised vision of the environment, centred on conventional aspects linked to natural resources (air and water) or issues such as sanitation and green belts. Concepts linked more closely to consumption or the reduction of inequalities are not perceived as especially important from the standpoint of sustainability. We could say that the subjects on which they are best informed are those connected to waste, while the more comprehensive subjects and those relating to a change of model, such as the issues dealt with under the heading of Agenda 21, are familiar only to a tiny minority. They are also poorly informed as to the effects of large cities on their surroundings and on the sources of the natural resources that we consume (water, gas). There is no awareness of the so-called "ecological footprint" and there is therefore no sense of being in debt to anyone. On the other hand, they are consistently in favour of solar energy and consider that the amount of advertising that they receive in their mailboxes is excessive.

Barcelona's citizens think more ecologically than they act. Their habits and behaviour do not seem to be particularly consistent with their opinions. The areas in which their behaviour is more in keeping with the requirements of sustainability are those where concerns for scarcity and cost have a long history in Spain and Catalonia, i.e. water consumption, savings on electricity and heating consumption. Habits that take these attitudes somewhat further, such as purchasing energy-miser light bulbs or ecological products, are much less widespread. Although many people are not against taking in actions or initiatives to foster sustainability, very few state that they are willing to undertake specific commitments and fewer still would assume a financial cost or personal dedication in this respect.

The city appears to receive good marks on one of the issues that was defined at the Hanover Conference (February 2000) as one of the five core indicators in the assessment of urban sustainability, i.e. the percentage of children who walk to school. This is a subject that should be focussed on and promoted. In addition, there is a certain area where the Town Council could take more ambitious initiatives than it has to date in connection with sustainability. This is the case, for example, with the "Europe Car-free Day" initiative; the informants in the survey agree with it but are sceptical as to its practical benefits if it is not taken further. Even so, we must concentrate on how to encourage the most highly-motivated citizens (10-15%), gradually attracting the majority who appear willing to join this group (30-40%), while not neglecting the still significant portion who are, at present, poorly-informed, sceptical or reluctant (15-25%).

Are All Citizens Equal?
Simplifying greatly, an initial analysis of the results of the survey would lead us to conclude that the profile of the person most favourably disposed to all issues concerning sustainability and the environment in Barcelona is that of a woman between 35 and 54 years of age who, although admitting to being poorly informed on the underlying concepts, shows natural and learned attitudes that lead her to economise resources and accept the need to recycle and make use of everything at our disposal. This typical individual is highly critical of how the city works at present, owing, among other reasons, to the fact that she suffers the consequences of traffic congestion and noise without, for the most part, contributing to their generation, since she gets around mainly on foot or by public transport. Her favourable disposition to the underlying issues of sustainability demand greater information and collaboration, since she will play a key role in a change of habits and in many of the principal aspects of consumption and separation of waste.

On the other side of the balance, there is the profile of the persons who contribute the least to progress towards a sustainable Barcelona, consisting of young people, mainly males, aged between 18 and 34, who, while they are relatively well informed on environmental problems and have a largely accurate understanding of the meaning of sustainability, do not generally act in consequence and are more concerned with other problems. They are more concerned with their professional and financial prospects than the noise produced by motorcycles, air pollution, dog excrement or cars parked on the pavement. Their habits bear little connection to what they claim to believe or what they know. They represent a segment of society that will require an effort to bring its behaviour into line with its opinions.

On the basis of the information at our disposal, we could say that, as a rule, Barcelona citizens who are older, but under retirement age, better educated and employed at the level of middle management or as liberal professionals, or, in certain respects, as housewives, are better informed and more aware and have better habits and are more willing to undertake commitments. The younger they are, the less closely they are in tune with other citizens, and if they are retired, the more positively they see the changes that have taken place in the city.
All in all, as we analyse the information provided by this survey in a more specific manner in respect of social segments and geographic location, it will help us to design policies and significant actions to augment information, modify perceptions and behaviour and succeed in motivating people positively in connection with one of the key issues for the quality of life in Barcelona in the future.
The tables show the main strengths and weaknesses in relation to the variables of age and sex. (Refer to page no. 18.)

How Can We Make Progress?
We are fortunate to live in a dense city, and that is good news nowadays and is seen as such by Barcelona's citizens. But that very characteristic means that we must be much more careful about how we get around in the city, and how we use it and abuse it. The results of the survey also tell us that our past experience of scarcity and lean times places us on a firm footing to rebuild consensus on the subject of the new-old ideas of reduce, re-use and recycle. We have a strong and majority base of potential allies who, out of an interest in savings and resource economies or simply out of common sense, are willing to co-operate with even just a little encouragement and guidance. We also have a smaller group of enthusiasts who are convinced of what must be done, and another small group of persons, citizens, who are not yet aware of the costs of their behaviour and who do not appear very willing to change it.

The survey has provided us with tools that will help us to make progress and it shows that our objective must be an alliance with the city's inhabitants, establishing strategies aimed at informing and demonstrating that things can be done better with just a little extra effort, targeting those who are at present in this connection our natural allies, specifically women, and adults in general. Without neglecting campaigns directed particularly at young people, who show a certain degree of inconsistency between what they know and what they do. Reinforcing and "rewarding" symbolically those who already act positively, through information and recognition, and isolating the uncooperative, encouraging proper behaviour and "penalising" intellectually those who claim to know but do not act accordingly. In short we must do whatever we can to stress the need for consistency between opinion and behaviour. I believe that in many cases we must do this experimentally, as has been done in certain places, so that we can learn and teach. In this way we can gradually increase our certainty as to the ways to follow and build consensus on the objectives to be attained.

In addition, above and beyond the survey, and in spite our reiteration of the crucial need for an implicated and co-responsible population in respect of sustainability issues if we are to make any progress, we cannot overlook the institutional responsibility of our local government. Mapping out the way to urban sustainability for Barcelona cannot consist merely of a combination of good intentions and generic statements, sprinkled with a few more or less exemplary measures. If we follow, with insistence and creativity, the path that has been gradually laid out with the drafting of Barcelona's Agenda 21, we can be sure that this will produce a knock-on effect that will have an impact on all urban policies. At the risk of harming ourselves, we cannot defend a sustainable model for urban mobility and at the same time take actions on other fronts in just the opposite direction, or even in contradiction of that model. We cannot defend urban sustainability and not take action to combat social segmentation in the city. And so on, at length. It will not be easy, since we must admit that, as human beings, we are all somewhat contradictory and we want a lot of different things all at once. But we must be aware of the demands involved in the sustainability discourse if we wish to make it anything more than well-intended rhetoric. At present, the goal is to involve citizens, but we must bear in mind that this is a difficult task to undertake, and one that is even more difficult to abandon.

1. For an analysis and assessment of Local Agenda 21s in Spain, see Nuria Font-Joan
Subirats (eds.), Local y sostenible, Icaria, Barcelona, 2000.
2. At the end of 2000.

Page 20
by Txema Castiella / Teresa Franquesa

Technical Co-ordinators of Barcelona's Agenda 21

The expression "Agenda 21" was coined at the Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) to refer to the plan of action that states would have to implement in order to transform the current model for development, based on the exploitation of natural resources as if they were unlimited and unequal access to the benefits of those resources, to a new model for development capable of covering the needs of present generations without compromising the capacity of future generations. This is what is known as sustainable development, i.e. development that is durable, efficient and rational in the use of resources and equitable in the distribution of benefits.

The final document produced by the United Nations ten years ago contained a chapter (Chapter 28) dedicated to the role of cities in this ambitious resolution for change. It recognises both the responsibility of cities and their capacity for transformation. As has been observed on occasions, seldom have a few brief lines of a formal declaration provoked such an enthusiastic reaction. At present, over 5,000 cities around the world are drawing up their own Local Agenda 21s through mechanisms involving participation by the local community, with the objective of establishing shared objectives and milestones to contribute locally to the sustainable development of our planet's society. Local Agenda 21s are a good example of the old ecologist maxim "think globally and act locally".

Barcelona is one of the cities taking part in this movement and it is now completing its Agenda 21. This article aims to outline the characteristics of this complex and exciting process. Barcelona's status as a large city in the context of Europe undoubtedly makes this an experience worth studying and sharing.

In 1995, Barcelona's Town Council resolved, with the unanimous vote in favour of all political groups represented, to become a signatory of the Aalbörg Charter. This Charter was the local response to the challenge issued by the United Nations and it was a harbinger of the widespread local movement that would arise in Europe for promotion of Local Agenda 21s. In contrast with the nature of some international declarations, it was an innovative manifesto set out in an attractive style with clearly expressed aims. It was based on the recognition of the responsibility of cities, particularly in the western world, for the current situation (owing to demographic concentration, consumption of goods, services and land, transportation, energy consumption, etc.) and the observation of the capacity of cities to contribute to sustainable development from a privileged position for fostering participation, agreement and mobilisation of forces and resources. One of the specific commitments undertaken by the signatories of the Aalbörg Charter (which has now been ratified by 1,200 European cities) was to "attempt to reach a consensus in our communities in respect of local Agenda 21 by the end of 1996".

This was the first definite step in the process of drafting Barcelona's Agenda 21. The experience of our city, and that of most cities, with the exception of some in the Scandinavian countries, has demonstrated the value of the Aalbörg Charter as a trigger for the process and has also shown the timetable originally called for to be unfeasible. The process, being an ambitious one, has involved substantial conflict in respect of content, approaches and timing, and the case of Barcelona is no exception.

The Municipal Council for the Environment and Sustainability
Three years later, a delay that in itself speaks of the complexity and difficulty of the process, the Barcelona Agenda 21 Promotional Forum was created. Agenda 21 is neither a closed process nor an exercise in exact sciences: each city must select its own approach to drafting its Agenda 21, depending on its characteristics and circumstances. This was also the case with the Forum, which, in Barcelona, took shape as a Municipal Council, governed by the Rules and Regulations for Citizen Participation.

The Municipal Council for the Environment and Sustainability is a participatory and consultative body, but its objectives include the specific function of promoting development of Barcelona's Agenda 21. This is a highly significant characteristic of the process that differentiates it from other cities: the body that formulates proposals, builds consensus and takes responsibility for results is the Council and not the Town Hall.
The make-up of the Council is especially important: there is a deliberate balance between representatives of the government (Town Hall, Regional Council, Provincial Council, EMMA), the business world, trade unions, and citizen and ecologist organisations, and of universities and a group of private experts.

In 1998 and 1999 thirteen thematic working groups were formed with different members of the Council to carry out, on a basis of consensus, a diagnosis of each area, formulating proposals for future action and, in some cases, suggesting indicators for monitoring. The task of these interdisciplinary working groups is the core of the documents on Agenda 21: over 2,000 hours of volunteer work and over 500 proposals of different types and magnitude.
In 2000, the Council adopted these documents as "Materials for Debate" and resolved to undertake a phase of citizen participation and debate, through which the Council's work will be opened to other organisations and players and citizens as a whole. This is an extremely important decision for the process, owing to its ambitious nature. When the process is completed, the Council will be the body with the capacity to decide on the approval of the final content.

The Participation Process
The extension of the debate to include citizens seemed indispensable if the process was to be successful. Making an Agenda 21 with the greatest possible degree of participation not only legitimates it, but above all it allows a larger number of people to assimilate its importance and assume its objectives. At the same time, however, obvious difficulties arise, such as the size of the city, the lack of citizen awareness of the process and the complexity of the issues and the relatively limited time available.

The ability to combine ambition and pragmatism could be said to be the motto that has guided the design of the citizen participation process from the start and that has oriented the volume and provision of resources in terms of planning, technical and material means and monitoring of the process.
The main challenge, obviously, was how to attain a sufficient degree of citizen involvement, taking into account that the move from the core of highly informed and concerned individuals to all citizens could not be made in a single step. It therefore seemed appropriate to focus efforts on fostering the participation of citizen organisations and groups and to leave the door open to intervention by individuals. This decision implied adoption of a participatory approach that ensured that all views were represented, while prioritising quality over quantity.

The document "Criteria and Proposals for Citizen Participation in Barcelona's Agenda 21", drafted by the Political Analysis Team of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, provided both the theoretical basis for the process and the operational guidelines in respect of the phases and instruments to make it possible. The framework document's proposal for development of the participation process can be summed up in the following elements:
· three phases: information, deliberation and decision
· two approaches to work: regional and thematic
· two types of involvement: organisations and citizens

These structural criteria have been highly useful, although the actual situation made adaptation necessary in some cases. For example the first two phases of the process were combined in practice into a single, very prolonged phase (April-December 2001) of information/deliberation. The reasons for this were the initial difficulties in setting the project in motion and the protraction of information tasks, along with the substantial differences in the speed of work in the city's ten districts and at many of the participating organisations.

This phase opened officially on 3 April 2001, with a formal ceremony at the main lecture hall of Universitat de Barcelona, at which the mayor and the president of the Council gave a public presentation of the process of citizen participation and the material placed at everyone's disposal for discussion: Towards Barcelona's Agenda 21: A Document for Debate. This was a fundamental document that dealt with and combined all the different components of diagnosis and proposal, set out for the purpose of debate.

From that moment on, a number of initiatives were undertaken on different fronts at the same time to start up and gradually advance in the proposal for participation throughout the city. Work went ahead on distribution of the document for debate and on dissemination of the process to over 500 organisation, which were invited to take part; the web page 21 was created; meetings were held with significant groups; thematic debates were programmed in the form of "Dialogues" between experts on the issues under discussion; a virtual forum was opened at the city's website; thousands of surveys were made on priorities; three prospecting sessions were organised; the specific Agenda 21 for Schools programme was launched; etc.

Agenda 21 for Schools
This programme calls on schools to draw up their own Agenda 21, reviewing concepts and practices and committing themselves to undertaking actions for improvement. In this connection, a methodological guide and technical and pedagogical assistance are offered throughout the school year, along with a line of financial aid for public schools. A total of 70 schools at all educational levels took part during the 2001-02 school year and 97 have been accepted for participation next year. Each school chooses the issues that it will deal with, and while environmentalisation of resource and waste management predominates, there are also a large number of projects focussing on improvement of the immediate surroundings, along with the creation of gardens, use of solar energy, and the issues of mobility and noise. Results permit a very positive evaluation, both in terms of the actual implication of schools and the stimulus and support for the task of environmental education carried out by them. The programme receives support from the AGBAR Foundation.

However, the main protagonists during this period have clearly been the city's ten districts, which, once they had grasped the importance of the process, took responsibility for carrying it out on their own territory, each in its own particular manner, in keeping with its circumstances and style. The moment of greatest visibility was the formal presentation ceremony, which was organised with a certain degree of solemnity and was very well attended in all districts. This was followed by intense activity in the form of publication of informative materials and individual web pages, programmes on neighbourhood radio and television stations, contacts with organisations in the ambit and, above all, the programming of some 200 debate sessions, attended by around 3,000 people.

As a result of the first phase of citizen participation, the Technical Secretariat for Agenda 21 collected approximately 1,000 proposals, varying widely in scope and degree of abstraction. Moving on to the practical phase required the combination of all the contributions into a draft document that could be returned to the participants, so that everyone who had taken part in the process would have the opportunity to evaluate it and, where appropriate, amend it. It had to be a concise and comprehensible document, setting out the fundamentals, objectives and main lines of action. It was planned as a framework document that would provide a negotiated overview of the sustainable Barcelona that we wish to attain and to which we are all committed, each one in their own area and with their own plan of action.

The draft of the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability was prepared during the final quarter of 2001, simultaneously with design of the methodology for participation in its revision. The Council approved the draft in December and the practical phase was carried out according to plan (January-May 2002). For this purpose, a dossier was published containing the text and the procedure for taking part, and the Technical Secretariat and the districts then distributed this dossier to all the organisations and individuals implicated in the process. It was also sent to citizen organisations that had not expressed any interest so far and it was posted on the website to facilitate participation as much as possible.

With the aim of permitting the collective drafting of the text of the Commitment an extremely simple method for participation was used, based on a set of colours and symbols, to allow everyone to express easily and visually their assessment of and comments on each of the different proposals. Everyone who wished to could appraise and/or propose modifications to the objectives and lines of action. These reactions could be entered directly on the website or sent to the technical secretariat by fax, post, or e-mail. In any case, all the contributions received through the different media were posted on the website to allow viewing of the complete result.

A total of 480 users made contributions, of which 180 represented organisations and the rest were individuals. All together, 12,000 appraisals and 1,300 amendments or suggestions were presented.
Subsequently, during the months of March and April, a series of meetings (Agenda 21 forums) were held, to provide the opportunity to defend the proposed amendments and to attempt to agree by reasoned consensus on controversial proposals. Ten thematic forums were held, a specific one for each of the objectives, along with a city forum to revise the full set of ten articles. Around two hundred people, who had previously submitted their assessments, attended these meetings. The districts also worked on the draft and some of them held one or more local forums of their own. These meetings made use of the same system of positioning by colours, already familiar to the participants, through the so-called "option windows".

The editorial team drew up the amendments agreed at the forums, creating a new, clearly improved version of the document that then received the finishing touches in accordance with suggestions from the members of the Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council. Finally, on 21 May, the Town Council approved the definitive version of the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability, with its ten main objectives and one hundred lines of action (ten for each objective).
The 10 Objectives
· Protect open spaces and biodiversity, and expand green belts.
· Defend a compact, diverse city, with quality public space.
· Improve mobility and make streets an attractive place.
· Attain optimum levels of environmental quality and become a healthy
· Conserve natural resources and promote the use of renewable
· Reduce waste generation and foster a culture of re-use and recycling.
· Augment social cohesion, strengthening mechanisms for fairness and participation.
· Promote economic activity oriented towards sustainable development.
· Advance the culture of sustainability through environmental communi- cation and education.
· Reduce the city's impact on the planet and promote international co- operation.
To this tangible outcome of the project, we must add the unquestionable expansion of concepts and issues related to sustainability, as well as progress in citizen commitment, a factor that is difficult to assess precisely.

Operational Instruments
· Subjects for debate. The proposals of the Council's working groups have provided the basis for promoting and structuring citizen debate. There were over 500 such medium- and/or long-term proposals, with diagnostic elements, constituting a solid foundation for participation. A summary of this work was published in the Documents series and the content was incorporated into the document Towards Barcelona's Agenda 21, an accurate social-environmental diagnosis and summary of the proposals that was published and widely distributed and formed the core of the Agenda 21 website.

· Habits and Values Survey. Under an agreement between the Town Council and UAB's Institute for Government and Public Policy, the Environment and Sustainability Habits and Values Survey was carried out as a social-environmental diagnostic element. The aim was to include environmental perception, a subjective but important component, in the different technical and sectorial diagnoses, adding qualitative information to this process and complementing other sources of information. This was the first Barcelona survey to focus exclusively on sustainability and it dealt in depth with all aspects of this area. The field work was carried out at the end of 2000 with a sample of 1200 individuals aged eighteen and over, through home interviews.

· Participation plan. The Municipal Council drew up a participation plan based on the criteria and proposals put forward by the Political Analysis Team of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The objective of the plan was to design an organised process for debate with clear standards, appropriate methodology and a timetable for different phases. See further information on this subject in the text.

· Communication plan. If an Agenda 21 is to involve citizens, as it must by definition, one of its necessary components is a definite communication strategy. In view of the limited resources for this type of campaign, it was decided to provide the process with a basic visibility centred on the logo. The logo represents the image of commitment by the city to the planet and its fundamental requirement was that it should be identified with the city and not with the Town Council. It was chosen from among three designs by the members of the Council at a plenary session. This brand has served to unify a diverse range of actions (publications, posters, leaflets, etc.). In respect of media dissemination, the local television station (BTV) has played the most important part, both in terms of coverage of the full process in news programmes and broadcast of short reports and spots.

· Technical Secretariat. In April 2001, the firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers was commissioned through a public call for tenders to act as Technical Secretariat to the process. This Technical Secretariat has acted as an auxiliary support and technical assistance body for both the participation process and the preparation of materials.

· Agent 21s. One of the key roles in the participation process has been played by the network of individuals, both volunteers and professionals, who, through their work in associations, universities, districts and other municipal departments, or in the Technical Secretariat itself, have led and galvanised the process. This highly resourceful and diverse group of around one hundred people, who refer to themselves informally as Agent 21s, has met regularly for training and co-ordination sessions.

· Information and assistance services. In a process where information and dialogue are so important, personal attention is indispensable. The Sustainable Barcelona Resources Centre, open to the public six days a week providing service through phone lines and e-mail, has been the main point of information and attention. In the districts, the Citizen Service Offices have played the equivalent role, often supplemented by civic centre services. The website has been another, virtual, way, used by an average of 2,250 people monthly. Service has also been provided through the 010 telephone line.

· Environmental Education Resources. Throughout the whole process, the Town Council has augmented the environmental training and information resources available to citizens. A good example in this connection is the set of seven environmental education guides (Mobility, Waste, Water, etc.) that have been prepared and widely distributed, the Sustainability Files collection, and the other publications in the area of environmental awareness, in addition to a broad and varied quarterly programme of activities.

Action 21: Working Prospects
The process of preparing Barcelona's Agenda 21 has been characterised by a few basic principles: strategy, broad base, participation, knowledge and joint responsibility.
Firstly, Agenda 21 is configured as a medium- and long-term strategic plan with a ten-year time frame (2002-2012), based on sustainability as the common paradigm. In fact, Barcelona's Agenda 21 is clearly committed to a comprehensive, broad-based approach to sustainability, combining social, economic and environmental dimensions, and thus reaches beyond the strictly conventional domain of environmental policy. Furthermore, as we have seen, Barcelona's Agenda 21 has been the result of the broadest possible process of participation and information. It is not the outcome of the work of experts or of a specialised laboratory, but of the contributions and perceptions of a great many people and groups with different interests that were negotiated and eventually agreed by consensus in the Commitment.

We speak of knowledge because the process of preparing the Agenda 21, and particularly the participation phases, have in themselves provided an excellent opportunity to raise citizens' collective level of environmental information, knowledge and education. In addition, however, given that effective participation is impossible without good access to information, the organisers have made considerable efforts in this connection.

And lastly, joint responsibility, because Barcelona's Agenda 21 is the set of commitments and objectives shared by the members of the Council and is put forward as the Agenda 21 for the city. It is not the Town Council's Agenda 21, and it is therefore based on the desire to gain the commitment of all players, in keeping with their potential and responsibilities, to attaining the objectives that have been set.

Precisely, the new working phase that commenced with the approval of the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability could be called Action 21. Each player, institution or organisation that has signed the Commitment agrees to work in accordance with the principles of the Agenda 21 and will specify the voluntary actions that they can take in their respective fields to contribute to attaining the shared objectives that have been set.

During this phase there will be new operational instruments to help to stimulate, orient and evaluate the processes under way. A set of indicators will serve to monitor progress and a methodological guide for preparing action plans will be available by year end, along with other instruments aimed at disseminating good practices and experience. The year 2004 offers a good immediate time-frame for showing what progress has been made.
A key stage of the city's Agenda 21, then, has been completed, and another even more exciting stage has commenced, in which everyone is invited to join in the collective effort at making a more sustainable city. As concluded in the presentation text of the Commitment, we have just begun. We have no time to waste and we have all the time in the world.

Page 26
by Enric Tello
Full Professor of History of the Economy at University of Barcelona. Member of "Ecologistes en Acció"

All cities are more than just concentrations of people at a certain point in a region. In order to satisfy their needs, these people consume energy and this makes cities into very unique places where many different things are always happening at the same time. At night, satellites see them from space, like strings of lights dotting the darkness. According to Barcelona's Energy Improvement Plan (PMEB 2002), in 1999, within its small municipal boundaries, Barcelona consumed 50.78 PJ of final energy in the form of electricity (40.5%), petrol (31.5%), natural gas (25.2%) and LPG (2.9%). Of the average of 33.65 GJ consumed per capita, 33% corresponded to transportation, 37% to commercial and industrial buildings, and 30% to households.

During the day, the energy dissipated by the city is dwarfed by the energy of the sun. Barcelona receives 470.5 PJ of solar radiation, and in spite of air pollution, 400 PJ reach roofs and window, i.e. eight times the commercial energy consumed here. By far the largest part of external energy supplies is from nuclear generation (49%) or fossil fuels (23% natural gas, 18% petrol, 4% LPG and 1% coal). Only 5% is of solar origin (4% hydroelectric and 1% from other renewable energy sources). The huge amount of solar energy reaching Barcelona goes, for the most part, unused. Plants are the main consumers, absorbing 30% of the solar radiation reaching green belts. The remaining 70% serves merely to dry laundry and save on lighting and heating (280 PJ of solar radiation, five times the commercial energy consumed).

Ecology has taught us to consider energy from two angles: dissipation and accumulation of information. In ecosystems, a part of the solar energy dissipated in activating life cycles is recovered in the form of information that organisms transmit from generation to generation. This accumulated information allows the system to grow in complexity and efficiency. To power the human body's 30 billion cells, 120 W is sufficient. One third of that power consumption occurs in the brain.
The prevailing economic strategy is just the opposite, and consists of increasing the power of the flows of cheap and dirty energy brought in from increasingly distant sources, in spite of the corresponding low efficiency and high levels of pollution. If we equate growth with the increase of flows and development with the improvement of efficiency, we see that human wellbeing has been based much more on unsustainable growth than on effective development.

Good Intentions: Reducing the Greenhouse Effect
This is the reasoning behind the overall environmental commitments undertaken by the city of Barcelona and included on its Agenda 21. Not long after the Rio summit meeting and coinciding with the first public hearing on the urban environment held in the spring of 1993 in response to a popular initiative promoted by the citizen platform "Barcelona Energy Saving", made up of ecologist groups, neighbourhood associations and trade unions, the Town Council announced its ratification of the Amsterdam Charter "Citizens for Protection of the Climate". In 1994 the mayor of Heidelberg called a conference of local authorities to debate ways of dealing with global warming through local action. At that conference, the following voluntary commitment was undertaken: "Attain at least a 20% reduction of the emissions of greenhouse gases in 2005 in comparison with 1987." Barcelona's Town Council made this commitment and three years later joined the Klima Bündis, an association of cities committed to a voluntary 27% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 in comparison with 1997.

Facts of Life: the PMEB for 2002
The PMEB commissioned to Barcelona Regional and submitted to the Town Council in 2002 has the virtue of contrasting current trends with declarations of good intentions. The Plan presents an initial inventory of options, scenarios and specific feasible proposals, along with a preliminary cost sheet of the investments required. This coincides with the start-up of the Barcelona Energy Agency, whose aim is to become an instrument for promoting the measures set out in the Action Plan for Energy Saving and Reduction of Atmospheric Emissions (PAE), included in the PMEB.

We are not on track: during the 1990s end-consumption of energy in Barcelona grew by 23%, while the population declined from one million seven hundred thousand to one million five hundred thousand. Per capita consumption of energy increased by 37.5%, stimulated by deregulation of the electricity industry and rate reductions. This increase includes consumption of natural gas, which grew by 39.8%, spurred by heating, electricity, which grew by 26.4%, spurred by air conditioning, and petroleum derivatives, which grew by 17%, spurred by the "ring road effect".

Thanks to improved insulation and windows, new buildings have lower consumption for heating (14 kWh/m2/yr, instead of the usual average of 34, or the 50 commonly found in the old centre). Nevertheless, the savings achieved on heating are progressively overtaken by installation of air conditioning systems (20 kWh/m2/yr). The PMEB warns that the growing demand for air conditioning "brings with it a potential increase in consumption of electricity that should be avoided", particularly in the services sector. While the total amount of housing is expected to grown by no more than 5% by 2010, the total surface area of offices could increase by 39%. The regulations governing construction for tertiary use must be revised and consideration must be given to extending the ordinance on solar power with the introduction of obligation to install photovoltaic systems in shopping centres.

This surge in energy consumption is merely a continuation in the established direction of inefficient and unsustainable growth. The reduction of the price electricity has resulted, to a great extent, in the tendency to obtain the same services with consumption of more kWh. This is also the case in the area of mobility, where collective public services consume only 8.9% of the total energy dedicated to transport while accounting for 48% of trips. Private cars, motorcycles, lorries and vans consume the remaining 91.1% to provide 52% of overall mobility. The Barcelona underground, chronically neglected by public investment, is the champion in terms of efficiency: it consumes 3.9% of the energy dedicated to transport and accounts for 21.7% of trips.

The diagnosis reached by the PMEB is highly pessimistic in connection with compliance by Barcelona's Town Council with its commitments for 2005 and 2010. With a high degree of tertiarisation of the economy and heavy dependency on nuclear energy, "there is very little potential for reduction of overall emissions and the impact on the local atmosphere through substitution of conventional energy sources". Consequently, "the only general strategy remaining is the promotion of renewable energy sources and measures to reduce consumption through energy efficiency." The authors of the report set out a series of potential scenarios based on certain forecasts of economic growth, prices and demand for energy, and compliance with the PAE, the Infrastructure Master Plan (PDI) for the transport industry, and the Metropolitan Programme for Municipal Waste Management (PMGRM).

The scenario taken as the most likely by the PMEB is the one called the "overall action" scenario, in reference to the application on schedule of the investments called for in the PMGRM (closure and degassing of the Garraf disposal site, exploitation of organic material at ecoparks), improvement of public transport planned in the PDI, and the savings and solar development objectives set out in the PAE (14.4 MW of photovoltaic energy, 96,300 m2 of thermal solar panels, 341,800 GJ/yr of electricity generated from biogas). According to Barcelona Regional, all this would serve only to offset the increased demand for energy consumption resulting from the economic growth forecast for the same period. This is, therefore, a scenario of stabilisation: total emissions would increase by 1.5% over the decade and would reach the level of a yearly equivalent per inhabitant of 3.15 tonnes of CO2.

The "objective" scenario, so called because it is recommended by the PMEB, adds to the planned actions an expansion of the PDI to favour public transport and construction of a fourth ecopark. This would allow an 11% reduction of emissions in ten years, to a yearly equivalent per inhabitant of 2.76 tonnes of CO2. "In any event, this is an unlikely scenario," according to the PMEB. The "ceiling" scenario aims to distinguish all actions that would be technically possible but, according to Barcelona Regional, are financially unfeasible at present. The forecasts included in the PAE represent only 23% of the technological possibilities identified for the "ceiling" scenario. Carrying them out before 2010 would involve a negative return on the required investments (rather than the internal rate of return of 4.4% calculated in constant pesetas that could be obtained on the 23% of financially viable investments, estimated at an average of _265 per equivalent tonne of CO2 reduced, except for biogas, where the cost is only _18 per tonne).

The bottom line of the PMEB is that Barcelona cannot achieve the voluntary objectives that it undertook in the Heidelberg Declaration and upon joining the Klima Bündis. According to the authors, "a perhaps more realistic objective would be to maintain the low level of emissions per capita or attempt to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to below the yearly equivalent of 3 tonnes of CO2 per inhabitant." The authors use the term "low level" here to refer to the fact that emissions are lower than those recorded in many northern cities, which are multifunctional and less compact and have a greater degree of dependency on automobiles, along with a less benevolent climate. In Munich, Manchester, Copenhagen, Leeds, Berlin and Heidelberg itself, emissions are over the equivalent of 5 tonnes of CO2 per inhabitant. In Hanover, Dresden, Helsinki, Toronto and Minneapolis, the figure is over 10 tonnes. However, these comparisons do not take into account the different proportions of direct and indirect emissions depending on the economic structure of the city and the extent of its municipal boundaries. Nor can they disguise the fact that, in spite of the lower levels, Barcelona's emissions are presently unsustainable.

Changing Trends
The PMEB is a very useful document for opening the citizen debate on the future environmental action plan after approval of the Agenda 21, but under no circumstances can it serve as a substitute for that plan. It must serve the purpose of confronting commitments with realities and helping us to define what policies should be applied. It should not place limits a priori on what is to be done. Its most important message is this: we are heading in an unsustainable direction, and if we wish to turn towards sustainable development, we need to take decided action to reverse prevailing trends. This will not be easy, nor will it be free. Nevertheless, we must not mistake the difficulty of the problem for an unwillingness to find solutions.

The ability to achieve, sooner or later, the objectives that have been set will depend on the political and economic efforts that we bring to bear. The PMEB itself acknowledges that the differences in profitability between the various technically viable alternatives depend on the politically determined playing field, for example, the possible introduction of environmental accounting that distinguishes between different behaviours and charges those who actually pollute more. It will also depend on the widespread use of instruments such as energy labels for housing and extension of the solar ordinance, where we must seriously consider the need to incorporate photovoltaic generation (linking it particularly to the growing demand for kWh as a result of air conditioning).

In the autumn of 1992 the promoters of the "Barcelona Energy Saving" platform attended a series of interviews with municipal technical services for the purpose of putting the finishing touches to the proposals that we wished to table at the first public hearing on the urban environment. One of those proposals was the enactment of a solar ordinance for new buildings. When we mentioned the idea to the head town of planning at the time, we were told that it would be impossible: "We cannot oblige builders to do something that they do not have to do in other municipalities." It looked like we had run up against a serious obstacle. Fortunately, one of the people present at the meeting was Anna Bosch, who had been the first woman mayor of a major city in Catalonia. She replied "If new buildings have to have parking garages, what is to stop you from requiring solar energy too?

The proposed solar ordinance was defended at the public hearing in 1993, Josep Puig drafted it during his term in office as the city's first ecologist councillor, and it finally began to be enforced at the initiative of Imma Mayol. It is sparking interest in many other cities and towns and has been praised by organisations such as the European Environmental Agency. According to the PMEB, it is allowing a 17% reduction of total energy consumption in new buildings. This small reminder could help us to recover a sense of progress in the task facing us. With the combined civic energy of a large number of people, we can change the world; we do not have to be satisfied with the one we have now.

Page 30

by Jordi Renom i Sotorra
Managing Director of the Metropolitan Waste Agency

Over the past three years, the Municipal Environmental and Sustainability Council has worked to define the major challenges facing Barcelona and to propose objectives aimed at making the city more sustainable. This process will culminate in June of this year with the signature of Barcelona's Agenda 21, the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability, by institutions and organisations.

Agenda 21 is a working plan shared by cities around the world for progress towards a model for development capable of covering present needs without compromising the ability to satisfy the needs of future generations.
In generic terms, the document entitled Agenda 21 is a plan for attaining sustainable development that, along with the treaty on global warming and biodiversity, marked the historical milestone reached at the Rio summit meeting.
These accords, and particularly Agenda 21, have turned out to embody a series of rather vague objectives lacking clear plans for execution and legally binding texts. Now, the international community is preparing for the World Summit Meeting on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio + 10, to be held in Johannesburg in September, and society can no longer turn a blind eye to the immense distance separating the objectives of Rio and the day-to-day reality of the rich and poor countries alike.

Cities have a key role to play, since they are home to 50% of the world's population and centre most of the consumption of resources and generation of waste. Since they play a major part in creating the problems, they also have the opportunity to contribute to solving them.
As the world's population becomes increasing urban, the UN is promoting, within the framework of the principles of good urban governance, the principle of sustainability through the plan of action in respect of the environment and development embodied in Local Agenda 21s.
In the case of Barcelona, the fact that organisations and institutions who wish to will sign the commitments undertaken in Barcelona's Agenda 21 will give rise to the preparation of action plans covering aspects that, through the actions taken by the Town Council, organisations, enterprises, families and individuals, can contribute to attaining the goals that we have jointly determined.
Why is one of the objectives set by Barcelona's set out on the basis of the reduction of waste and fostering of a culture of re-use and recycling? What lines of action are proposed to achieve these objectives?

Current Situation
The current situation is clear: each citizen of Barcelona and its metropolitan area generates 1.34 kg of waste daily, up by 40% over the amount generated twenty years ago. Although selective collection of waste has increased greatly in recent years, at present it accounts for only 14.4% of the total. This means that most of the goods consumed still become waste. The destination of most of this waste is the Garraf disposal site and the Besòs energy recovery plant. The disposal site is now scheduled for closure and work is currently under way for its restoration and degassing, simultaneously with work to reduce the environmental impact of the Besòs incinerator.

Management of the city's waste is subject to the directives of the Metropolitan Programme for Municipal Waste Management, which calls for the reduction and exploitation of waste and for the proper disposal of refuse and the restoration of degenerated locations.
In the interest both of saving raw materials and energy and of protecting the environment and human health and quality of life, the desirable trend would be to reduce the generation of waste, but we have not found the most effective measures.
Thus the first of the lines of action assessed at the Agenda 21 Issues Forum on this objective, held in April of this year, was to minimise waste on the basis of the principle that the best waste is waste that is not produced. We must also be well aware that, above and beyond the difficulties involved in waste management, the problem does not consist of the waste itself. Waste is merely the symptom. The problem consists of our consumer habits and our social and civic behaviour. Consequently, the solution to the problem goes beyond the post-consumption generation of waste.
To prevent the generation of waste, we must examine the relations between consumers and producers and define their respective roles so that we can achieve environmental goals.
Buying less and better means more efficient acquisition of articles that satisfy our needs, since it tends to prolong the life span of those articles and reduce the frequency with which we retire to the lumber room those goods have lost their usefulness too quickly.

As consumers, we can choose products that, being re-usable, have many lives. We can impose upon ourselves a generally vigilant attitude towards the goods that we are offered, the goods that can be used and repaired, the goods that can serve and then serve again, the goods that do not go to fill our trash bin, except where there is really no other option.
For producers, increased consumption also means more waste produced in the activities of extraction, production and distribution, because waste is produced at every stage of economic activity through the flows of the materials cycle. Changes in the ways of producing and using goods and products must go beyond increased efficiency of manufacturing and the strengthening of recycling by family units.

In contrast to the conventional economy of disposable products, which ceaselessly mass produces goods meant to be thrown away or become obsolete, the economy of durability, repairability and improvability provides one of the keys to prevention in manufacturing.
The initiatives of some manufacturers of appliances, automobiles and photocopiers, who "design for disassembly", making products easy to take apart and labelling components to specify their composition, are the tangible expression of the idea of re-use and recycling, key factors in a sustainable economy.
We also need initiatives in the area of legislation, to promote full recycling, such as laws obliging enterprises to recycle and re-use the packaging thrown away by consumers, the recovery of electronic equipment and the more recent European Union law requiring the return of automobiles.

The structure of an economy committed to durability needs a different kind of circulation system. In place of the current system of make-use-throw away, with circulation in one direction only of raw materials, products and waste, we would move to a system of make-unmake-remake, capable of collecting and returning products in need of repair or improvement and subsequently redistributing them to consumers. Such a system would be less centred on long-distance supply and delivery and more on exchanges between economies in towns and cities or regions.
This is the case with ecoindustrial estates, built on the principle of "zero waste" and grouping enterprises that can use the waste produced by the others.

During the 1990s, efforts were made to steer consumers towards a more sustainable path through the sale of services rather than consumer goods, since services are more liable to provide what the consumer is really looking, selling the rational use of the consumer goods rather than their mere possession. This is a system not aimed at increasing production, but rather at ensuring the use of goods by consumers and consumer satisfaction.
Another line of action to be assessed consists of promoting a greater degree of segmentation in selective collection, with regulatory measures for commercial waste (hotels, bars and restaurants, trade, small workshops) and supply markets.
Catalonia's new Municipal Waste Management Programme for 2001-2006 now makes economic players responsible for collection and treatment of their waste. Differentiation of household and commercial waste collection circuits allows the gradual implementation of collection systems using, for example, side loading, dual compartment bins, underground systems, door-to-door bag systems and compressed air systems.

The city of Barcelona has signed the Civic Compact for a clean and sustainable city, and it provides a point of reference for participation and an instrument for the implementation and evaluation of the new sanitation and waste collection service.
The intent is to extend the Civic Compact for prevention of waste to the metropolitan area, with the same conceptual basis and justification. This process of consensus will involve the 33 municipalities and the existing commercial networks to take part in specific actions aimed at waste prevention and reduction at the metropolitan level.
We must require governments to work at promoting the environmentalisation of their purchases through the creation of mechanisms that motivate, allow and facilitate the purchase of environmentally correct products (green purchasing) and foster the interchange of information and good practices.

In addition, it is proposed to promote actions for adapting accessories for collection of household waste and for redefinition of the functional design of residential buildings, with the objective of responding better to the new demands of citizens in connection with separate collection in homes and on the street.
The Agenda 21 Issues Forum is also studying the need to bring collection points as close as possible to citizens. Mini collection depots could represent a midway point between the standard collection depots and drop-off points. Mobile collection depots, seen as an extension of collection depots to provide service to people with lower potential for mobility, cover the region along determined routes and visit stops with schedules and timetables established through communication programmes.

Another proposal made in the course of this Forum is the closure and restoration of the Garraf disposal site. This process has already been planned, as mentioned above, and involves the prioritisation of technological options for exploiting the value of materials and improved management of refuse, as an alternative to disposal. In addition to recovery of glass, paper and packaging, organic material must be recovered, taking advantage of improved available technologies for biological treatment, including methanisation and tunnel composting.
The European Union has proposed a Directive on disposal sites, aimed at gradually reducing the amount of organic waste sent to disposal sites. The city of Barcelona, within the framework of the Metropolitan Programme, is committed to treatment and exploitation of organic material, through construction of the its first Ecopark.
The Barcelona Ecopark, which opened in February 2002, is the first treatment complex in the metropolitan area combining various facilities for exploitation of different types of waste on a single site. It has a capacity to treat 325,000 tonnes yearly, one quarter of the amount of waste generated. This is the emblematic infrastructure element of the Metropolitan Waste Programme and its creation involved the implementation of a new system of waste management based on sustainability criteria.

The Ecopark solution is not merely an example of technological solutions for waste treatment, but also responds to a broader environmental challenge, since the treatment of organic material at the Ecopark contributes to reduction of the greenhouse effect, as it considerably reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. Start-up of the Ecopark has, very significantly, permitted the progressive closure and restoration of the Vall d'en Joan disposal site in the Garraf massif, which accounted for 29% of Barcelona's overall contribution to the greenhouse effect. In addition, the organic material treated at the Ecopark's methanisation facilities produces biogas that is used to generate electricity, supplying energy for the whole installation and producing surplus energy that is fed into the electricity mains. In turn, it replaces the use of fossil fuels, one of the sources of emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Strategies for Education and Participation
Lastly, it was agreed that there is a need to promote strategies of active teaching and foster channels for participation by the public at large, enterprises and decision centres. We must ensure that we understand just what causes people to change their attitudes.
If a change of values by any society requires a change of generation, and not just greater awareness on the part of the present generation of the mobilised civil society, the transition will be easier if we ensure that we understand precisely where we stand at present.
In closing, I should like to quote from Kofi A. Annan, in the foreword to the report on the state of the world for 2002: "We have sufficient human and material resources to achieve sustainable development. With leadership, creativity and good will, we can build a peaceful and prosperous future for all."

Page 34
by Jaume Terrades
CREAF, Autonomous University of Barcelona

Urban green belts are important for a large number of reasons, many of which have long been apparent: they are used for leisure and recreation, they have aesthetic values (many people like to observe the seasonal changes of plants, or simply enjoy looking at them and smelling the fragrance of flowers), they help to reduce noise levels, etc. Much has been said in recent years on the subject of biodiversity, one of the leading issues in connection with global change, and biodiversity is also discussed in connection with cities and in the context of the drafting of Agenda 21s. One might think that biodiversity in cities is related mainly to green belts. Evidently, this brings up the question of whether urban green belts really play any significant role in conservation of biodiversity. First of all, in planetary terms, since the urbanised surface of the world accounts for only around 2% of the surface area of the continents, many people might find any concern for urban biodiversity to be exaggerated. In fact, if the living beings found in cities comprised only humans and their inevitably associated species (pets and house plants, rats, parasites, household insects, etc.), the planet's biodiversity would not be significantly diminished. We must, therefore, ask whether there are sufficient objective reasons to justify including biodiversity on local Agenda 21s, for example.

The reply could be unequivocal: there are certainly reasons, and plenty of them, of different natures and on different scales. Some of these reasons are of a scientific or technical nature, although these may not be the most important ones, at least not in the case of our cities, here and now. Other reasons have more to do with values. Nevertheless, if the reply is unequivocally that such reasons do exist, we must still show that they not only exist but that they also have significant weight, which is what really matters. This is what I intend to do here.

It is immediately obvious that urban environments are not the best suited to contain a substantial number of species. Furthermore, owing to the characteristic conditions of urban surroundings, with their high degree of artificiality, such as the predominance of impermeable surfaces (asphalt, cement, etc.), intensive presence of humans, air pollution, frequent disturbances, etc., common to most cities, we could not expect the species living in cities to include many rare or endemic species or ones that are particularly valuable from the standpoint of conservation. However, there are species that are commonly found in urban environments or that are only found there. For example, although it cannot generally be considered a species in danger of extinction, the caper (Capparis spinosa) is a rather rare plant in Catalonia and we would be hard pressed to find it in more natural surroundings, it grows well in cracks in stone buildings and its spectacular flowers can be seen on the walls of the monastery of Pedralbes and the church of Santa Anna. The common silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), that avid devourer of books and paper in general, is only found in co-existence with humans. In any event, in the catalogues of a country's flora and fauna, cities would be represented by a rather meagre and, in general, not very select repertory: usually predominant are the common, ubiquitous species that are able to survive in highly denaturalised environments. Boada i Capdevila's recent book (Barcelona: biodiversitat urbana, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 253 p. Barcelona, 2000) contains a comprehensive and very accessible summary of the main habitats and species found in the city of Barcelona.

Introduced Species: Positive and Negative Aspects
While the more or less autochthonous urban biodiversity is slight in comparison with other environments, it is enriched with species introduced by humans for specific purposes. There are, for example, ornamental plants for gardens, balconies and interiors, caged birds, other pets, collections of flora and fauna for exhibition (zoo and aquarium animals, botanical garden plants, etc.). From the standpoint of ecology, this added biodiversity has various implications, discussed below.

Firstly, the use of exotic ornamental plants is of unquestionably aesthetic interest and is a greatly appreciated cultural-landscaping resource for highly artificial environments. Some of these plants are well suited to climates such as ours, while others require greater amounts of water and energy for their survival. This has led to the defence of autochthonous plants in gardening. In fact, it is preferable to reduce unnecessary consumption of water and therefore not recommendable for Mediterranean cities to maintain large surfaces covered by lawns, since they require intensive watering. On the other hand, as already mentioned, many exotic plants do not require excessive costs and, furthermore, there is no need to give up having examples of exotic flora, even if only in greenhouses, out of cultural interest, nor do we need to adopt a sort of xenophobic attitude towards exotic species.

Nevertheless, this subject has a darker side. Precisely the frequent use of ornamental plant species and the demand for exotic pets can have detrimental effects on biodiversity and the environment, above and beyond the increased cost of maintenance in terms of water, energy and money. These effects are basically of two types. On the one hand, some species are imported illegally, since they are protected species that should not be removed from their natural environment. In such cases, the biodiversity added to a city has a negative impact on global biodiversity, since the long- or short-term survival of wild populations is placed at risk. Since many species do not reproduce in captivity, and where they do, the captive populations are too small to maintain themselves over time, the movement of specimens from their natural habitat to urban environments is, in practice, equivalent to hunting and constitutes a serious assault on conservation.

Unfortunately, although there are laws against such practices, they are poorly enforced, and the business is a lucrative one. On quite a different scale, the use of foliage of certain native wild species, such as the strawberry tree, to decorate floral arrangements is also detrimental to conservation and has an impact on the environment, in this case, ours: long, straight branches are cut, and these are easiest to find in woods that have recently been burnt. This is also usually a clandestine activity (lacking permission from property owners) and is very harmful to regeneration of woodlands after a fire.

A second aspect of this darker side to the use of organisms imported into cities is the risk of loss of control over the imported species, and this is so regardless of whether the species is imported deliberately or not. In some cases, exotic species can spread, reproduce and acclimatise, invading the country's natural environment. Biological invasions are among the factors in global change that are the cause of growing concern and cities are often the disembarkation point of such invasions. The red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) has become a pest in Catalonia, since this carnivorous species is often abandoned in ponds and streams when the specimens grow too large or their owners lose interest in them, and they then reproduce easily. It has now become a serious problem due to its impact on other species and its importation has been prohibited. A number of species of parrots have proliferated in Barcelona and some have begun to expand beyond the city, causing annoyance for people and harming some species. These are not isolated or even exceptional cases. On the contrary, the overall effects of biological invasions around the world are taking on disastrous proportions and the cost of eradicating these invaders in many areas is skyrocketing. In the United States, a study by Pimentel et al. (Pimentel, D.; Lach, L.; Zúñiga, R.; Morrison, D.; 2000. "Environmental and Economic Costs of Non-indigenous Species in the United States", Bioscience 50: 53-65) estimates at $137 billion the cost generated by a number of invading species. Of course, the most detrimental invading species include some that cause human illness or attack crops or livestock, and not all these species enter through the urban environment, but the magnitude of the problem requires cities to be aware of it and to take stringent precautions.

As for the commonest domestic fauna, such as pigeons, dogs and cats, and animals considered pests, such as rats, most municipalities have regulations in place and take specific action. Even so, the boundary areas of cities and towns and urban developments have an influence on the biodiversity of the surrounding environment due to the presence of some of these animals. Nowadays, cats and dogs are the most populous carnivores in many woodlands. Cats, in particular, approach houses when they cannot obtain food in the woods, and there they find shelter and sustenance; in this way cats escape from the natural mechanisms of population control, since they are protected in lean times and can maintain populations at much higher levels then would otherwise be the case, and their impact as predators is therefore very strong.

Urban Development and Fragmentation of the Natural Environment
On the basis of the above, it is clear that cities need to incorporate into their Agenda 21s certain lines of strategy dealing with the use, management and monitoring of species. We have mentioned that the urbanised surface area of the continents is relatively small, but growth, in many cases, is extremely rapid. The transition from compact cities to diffuse cities and even urban sprawl is an almost universal phenomenon. The countryside fills up with small patches of urban development that then grow and meld or are connected by roads or other transport systems (power lines, pipelines, etc.). In this way, many areas become fragmented, cut off in this urban grid. Such fragmentation has been shown to have detrimental effects on biodiversity. One study carried out in the United States concluded that woodlands with a surface area of under 100 ha have only half the diversity of birds found in extensive forests.

Furthermore, cities have other types of indirect impact. The need to build dams and canals, the need to produce food for the inhabitants of the city, the generation of energy and the extraction of construction materials, disposal sites for urban waste, air and water pollution, etc. all have substantial consequences for biodiversity. This what is known as the ecological footprint, and although it is a controversial indicator, it implies that for every hectare of urban land, a number of hectares (the proportion is highly variable) must be dedicated to providing resources for the city or receiving its waste. The affected areas lose biodiversity. These effects can be far-reaching, since we consume goods produced thousands of kilometres away and some of our wastes spread over the whole planet. Diffuse urban areas have one characteristic that might seem advantageous: they allow the maintenance of a high proportion of non-impermeable land and urban green belts. Nevertheless, the price for this is a much more extensive occupation of denaturalised and fragmented land. These are areas that are much more "permeable" to the species that are best suited to survive in such conditions, but the extent of more natural environments is greatly reduced.

It is true that an entire country can be practically occupied by rural and urban uses without causing an ecological disaster for humans. In fact, biodiversity can be considerably reduced in many systems without causing the system to fail entirely. The Netherlands and many Asian countries, with very high population densities, are clear examples of this. Nevertheless, this model cannot reasonably be extrapolated to the rest of the world, since those countries depend heavily on other regions for certain resources and the disposal of certain wastes. Concern for a reduction of cities' impact on biodiversity is not a question of fear, but rather one of culture and solidarity. Reduction of the ecological footprint on the rest of the region is one of the objectives of Agenda 21. In order to achieve this, we must reduce consumption of energy, water and other materials. We must also resist the trend to urban sprawl and sectoralisation of activities (which greatly increases horizontal transport), and return to favouring a compact urban fabric. This involves enormous difficulties. All too often, planning lacks efficiency because control of urban growth lies, in fact, more with private interests than with governments. In addition to energy savings (which also imply a reduction of waste generation, a fact that will have a tremendous influence on technological development in the next few decades), by including space as a primary resource, cities will probably evolve towards to a different use of green belts, to avoid the barrier effects and increase the permeability of the urban fabric to plants and animals and to favour biodiversity and the insulation of buildings by means of green roofs, rehabilitation of waste land, etc.

We mentioned at the outset that some of the reasons for concern with biodiversity have to do with values. Since there is a clear trend for the majority of world's population to live in cities, and since this process gives rise to a growing disconnection between people and the environment, which no longer represents the context of the individual's activity, but rather something much more distant, perceived mainly in terms of its potential for essentially recreational uses, city-dwellers do not have a clear understanding of how ecological systems work. The overall design of the strategies on Agenda 21s must take this problem into account and contribute to solving it, both in connection with how green belts are designed and used and with other lines of action. An educational programme, at all levels and aimed at all sectors of the general public, must preside the drafting of Agenda 21s and the subsequent specific policies and actions, to help modify the biased scale of values prevailing among city-dwellers.

The subject of biodiversity on local Agenda 21s must go far beyond the issue of green belts, although without leaving it out altogether. Cities are the site of most of the consumption carried by humans and are therefore responsible for most of the impact on the environment and on global biodiversity. Strategies in respect of this issue must necessarily be set out on various scales: they must range from attention to purely local issues, including protection of specific habitats and species and the structuring of networks and connections, to the major options for regional structuring and urban growth, or, on an even larger scale, reduction of the consumption of goods and importation of species with a serious regional impact anywhere in the world, or on water or the atmosphere.

Although this variety of scales is evident in how the issue is handled in Barcelona's Agenda 21, the major difficulties arise as a result of the fact that attainment of the objectives requires policies that must also be transverse, as is normally the case in connection with environmental issues. In a sense, this is what Agenda 21s themselves propose: the definition of objectives that must be taken into account when defining collective policies or corporate or individual actions. Agenda 21s have "pedagogical" objectives in all areas, but they are also, in themselves, educational instruments for society at large. This must be particularly evident in connection with an issue such as biodiversity, which remains largely unknown to all of the possible players. I believe that biodiversity requires absolutely emphasis both of the value of urban green belts and the other factors that I have discussed, and that the issue of biodiversity must not be reduced merely to the area of green belts, which are of considerable importance on the local scale, but less so on other scales.

Page 39
City and Region up
by Juli Esteban
Head of the Urban Planning Studies Office
Barcelona Town Council

Everyone would certainly agree that cities, and in general all spaces that have undergone urban development, have a high degree of responsibility in the environmental future of the planet, particularly as consumers of resources.
Use of the urban space by the people who live or work there, the activities of enterprises and institutions located there, and the management of the city by the local government unquestionably include a very wide range of actions that are the joint cause of most of its environmental effects. Many of the those actions and effects in turn are conditioned by the physical surroundings in which they occur, in other words by the form of the city and how its spaces and buildings have been constructed.

We will examine here a number of considerations as to how these two components of the city - form and construction - influence its environmental behaviour, both directly and, particularly, by conditioning the efficiency of the large number of activities carried out there.
There are specific disciplines that deal with these issues: town planning and regional organisation focus mainly on the form and location of urban settlements; architecture and construction engineering deal with the creation of the city's buildings and public elements.

Of course, we can say that the cities where we live are what they are, with the form and constructions that are the result of their history. Even so, although urban centres have a notable resistance to change, cities are not static entities, but instead grow and are also remodelled.
The growth and remodelling of cities are processes of change affecting their configuration and in this connection it is very important to take into account the environmental consequences.

Urban Growth
In the case of Barcelona, we could say that there is no further potential for growth through expansion, and this is true if we refer strictly to the municipality, but it is not true if we instead consider that the city of which the municipality forms a part is a much larger entity, where growth of considerable importance will inevitably still occur, in response to the demand for land for housing and the activities that the areas already developed cannot satisfy. Thus, above and beyond the municipalities, the citizens of Barcelona and those of the other municipalities must necessarily be concerned with how this future growth will occur.

It is therefore no surprise that the first two points of the Citizen Commitment to Sustainability, Barcelona's Agenda 21, refer specifically to the issue of growth in clearly regional terms. The factors that must be taken into account in the processes of growth of urban centres are the following:
- Quantity
- Location
- Character

In a region as densely urbanised as the Barcelona metropolitan area, it is extremely important to ensure the greatest possible conservation of the areas not suitable for development. There are a number of different and forceful reasons for this principle. The undeveloped areas facilitate replenishment of the water table and the plant cover needed to maintain natural ecosystems, which, in turn, help to neutralise air pollution. In addition, the undeveloped areas are required for leisure activities and for the perception of landscapes, including the characteristic rural landscapes, and for the identification that these spaces allow of the urban centres as physically distinct. Measures must therefore be taken to prevent the casual consumption of land, the unnecessary consumption of land for uses that are not indispensable or that could be laid out in such a way as to greatly reduce the amount of land consumed.

Secondly, the location of growth must be taken into account. It can be supposedly unrestricted and scattered in largely inappropriate locations, like so many of the developments built in 1960s and 1970s, or as the laws passed by the Spanish government in 1998 and 2000 appeared to promote once again. Growth can also occur on the edges of existing urban centres, allowing the establishment of good functional relations and the formal completion and improvement of their image.
Thirdly, we must take into account the nature of this growth: it can give rise to areas of low population density or functionally specialised activities, or, on the contrary, high density areas with mixed functions, including both residential and other uses.

It is obvious enough that with a higher density less land is needed for a given number of housing units or jobs. Likewise, the combination of uses found in many areas of existing cities has shown itself to be the most efficient way of preventing the spatial segregation of their different parts.
It is also worth noting that relatively dense growth on the edges of existing urban centres, in addition to reducing the amount of land consumed, minimises the perimeter of contact between the urban area and its rural surroundings, which is always an area of potential conflict.

We must bear in mind that land is a scarce resource, particularly in an area such as the Barcelona metropolitan area, and although in a sense it can be considered a renewable resource, in that urban areas are reused over time and occasionally in different ways, it is also true that "the consumption of renewable resources at a rate faster than their rate of replenishment" is the second criterion for classifying a process as unsustainable. In this connection, repeated mention has been made of a fact brought to light in one of the studies for the failed Barcelona Metropolitan Regional Plan: between 1976 and 1996 the amount of land occupied in the metropolitan area had doubled. In other words, in those twenty years as much land was occupied as had been in the past until then. In the last ten years, there has been the general perception that occupation is continuing at an intense rate. The causes of this situation are undoubtedly complex and no clear-cut responsibilities can be attributed; in any event, it is clear that this cannot continue. A decidedly restrictive attitude must be taken to the occupation of new land by urban development and infrastructure elements. This need is reflected, radically, in the first line of action defined for Barcelona's Agenda 21, which reads:

"Freeze the extension of land suitable for development until a metropolitan regional plan has been drafted and approved on the basis of principles of sustainability, including among its objectives the protection of natural systems and their interconnection."
This line of action is complemented by a second one, reading:
"List, appraise and protect all undeveloped areas (farmland, woods, coasts, rivers ... and others) as areas of importance for biodiversity..."
Of course, if growth is restrained, involving relatively high density, and located on the edges of existing urban centres, this will facilitate attainment of the objective of protecting undeveloped areas in the region; likewise, due protection of undeveloped areas can condition the options for growth, ensuring that it only occurs as strictly necessary in the appropriate locations and with sufficient density to meet these conditions.

Regional Mobility
In addition to all of the above, we must mention another important environmental effect of the configuration of new growth in cities, i.e. modes of mobility. We know that the movement of people and goods accounts for a large portion of the energy consumed, most of it from "non-renewable resources", the primary criterion for unsustainability, and that it also accounts for a large portion of the pollutants, particularly CO2, that, produced in such large volumes that they cannot be neutralised, cause "cumulative degradation of the environment", the third criterion for unsustainability, and in this connection we can use the term "environment" in its broadest sense.

Of course, we live in a metropolitan area and one aspect of its nature is that people move from one side of it to the other, for reasons of work, education or leisure. The metropolitan space offers certain advantages that it would be absurd to not to exploit, but this should not necessarily involve a constant increase in the distance travelled to work nor the growing use of private vehicles. It is true that no configuration of urban layout can keep people from going where they want and by the means that they want to use, and it is positive that this option should be available, since freedom of choice is a right that must be protected at all costs.

At the same time, the configuration of the developed region should favour decisions as to destination and means of transportation of people that are the least detrimental to the environment. Two basic criteria must be taken into account in pursuit of this objective:

· Preference for dense, mixed-use urban development. As mentioned above, this criterion would contribute to the conservation of undeveloped areas in the region and social cohesion, but it is also crucial for favouring the most sustainable mobility possible. If approximately one third of all travel in Barcelona is on foot, a totally sustainable and very healthy option, it is because the city is made up of very dense, mixed-use areas, making for a relatively high probability of cases of proximity of places of residence, work and services.

It is true that when planning calls for combination of residential and business activity in the same area, it cannot be guaranteed by any means that the jobs in the area will be held by people who live in the housing located nearby, although there is an overriding logic of behaviour that will tend to bring the two together where possible. What is certain is that in highly specialised areas, either for residential or business use, almost everyone will have to travel to their places of work or almost all the jobs will be held by workers who travel there from somewhere else. Since obligatory mobility is the technical concept used to refer to travel from residence to workplace, these areas can be classified as areas of "obligatory mobility".

We find a large number of examples of such zones in the metropolitan area. Nevertheless, clarification is in order here: industrial estates, which are typical examples of what we are discussing here, have a rational justification as spaces for constructions and activities that would be difficult to combine with housing. Nowadays, however, the mechanisation, automation and segmentation of industrial processes have given rise to a sharp drop in the number of jobs in production plants, while at the same time the number of segmented parts of the process has risen: design, marketing, accounting, etc., which make up the largest portion of the jobs involved and are perfectly suitable for integration with housing in mixed-use urban areas.

· The second criterion is the concentration of growth in areas that are served or can be served by efficient public transportation. An interesting article by Josep M. Carrera1 points out that the demographic boom that occurred during the period 1950-1980 in all the municipalities in the metropolitan area was focussed in the zones served by the railway. Growth occurred mainly in the larger centres with train stations. This pattern is in sharp contrast with the trend since 1990, when population loss in the larger municipalities, a natural and foreseen phenomenon, has coincided with a high degree of dispersion of growth in small and medium-sized municipalities, most of which are not served by railways. The logic behind this pattern is environmentally unacceptable as a model for development of the region as a whole.

The Metropolitan Regional Plan
The Metropolitan Territorial Plan, an obligation pending since 1987, was to have provided a model for regional development responding satisfactorily to the three components of regional sustainability: equity, economy and ecology. After ten years of work, a draft of this Plan was completed in 1998 that has not been processed, or debated, or even submitted officially. In this light, we can easily understand the radical position advocated by the first line of action of the Agenda 21 mentioned above. The factors depending on the regional model are much too important to allow decisions to be taken in respect of growth based on standpoints that take only local interests into account, regardless of the validity of those interests.

On the other hand, the Metropolitan Regional Plan has been announced from the start as more or less imminent, and this is still the case. We certainly hope that it does not take much longer. But as a plan it must provide specific solutions to the problems set out, without deferring to subsequent district plans or master plans. The fundamental problems are the following: how much land will have to be developed to respond to estimated demand, where will this land be located in respect of existing developed areas and existing or realistically potential public transportation networks, and what basic conditions will have to be fulfilled by this growth in terms of density and usage. Complementarily, the Plan must provide a positive definition of the undeveloped areas that must, more or less definitively, be conserved to ensure the environmental and landscape quality of the region, and to allow the feasibility of survival strategies in unforeseeable circumstances.
This requirement has been backed now for some time by solid arguments and is now further supported by law. Although, in my opinion, not all of the provisions of Catalonia's recently approved Urban Development Law (March 2002) are unassailable, it does agree clearly enough with the consideration put forward here.

Specifically, Article 3 has the title "Concept of Sustainable Urban Development" and contains provisions such as the following:
"Sustainable urban development (...) requires combination of needs for growth with the preservation of natural resources and landscape values, (...) in order to ensure the quality of life of present and future generations."

"(...) given that land is a limited resource, it also requires the configuration of models of occupation that avoid regional dispersion, favour social cohesion, take into account the rehabilitation and renovation of urban land, (...) and consolidate a comprehensively efficient regional model."

"The exercise of urban planning competencies must guarantee, in accordance with regional organisation, the objective of sustainable urban development."

Some might find this excessively general; nevertheless, I find it encouraging that the sustainability of urban development processes is ordained by law and particularly that the law names the consumption of land and the dispersion of growth as causes of unsustainability, and that regional organisation is mentioned as a means of ensuring sustainable urban development. Now all that remains is for the law to be enforced, and that it does not give rise to the same result as the 1987 law, which required the drafting of a regional plan that has yet to be presented. In this connection, it is important to bear in mind that urban development is subject to citizen intervention by means of proposals, allegations and even appeals where enforceable regulations are not complied with. Article 3 provides for the right to contest resolutions that are contrary to the principles set out in the law; however, citizens and institutions must remain alert if we are to create a true culture of sustainable urban development.

In addition, Barcelona and all of the municipalities in the metropolitan area that are aware of the serious consequences of the development model for regional sustainability will have to demand, with much greater insistence than to date, the formulation of the Metropolitan Regional Plan that has been announced so repeatedly and in which they will logically need to take part to ensure that that document is sufficiently accepted and useful as a framework for the coherence of urban development processes.

Urban Renewal
As we mentioned earlier, urban areas evolve through growth and renewal. So far we have looked at growth, the extension of developed area, and we have analysed the conditions that must be met if such urban development is to be considered sustainable. Barcelona, as the focal point of a metropolitan area, has some say in the matter, as we have pointed out, but Barcelona, within its municipality, has no potential for further growth. The Metropolitan General Plan of 1976 mentioned the few remaining possibilities for growth, some of them (e.g. Torre Vilana) reluctantly, as a result of the court rulings on the appeals that were brought. Fortunately, voices are no longer raised in defence of the urban occupation of Collserola or what remains of the city's hills.

Nevertheless, Barcelona can renew its urban fabric and it has been doing so intensively since the beginning of the 1980s. Firstly, and considered overall, this attitude tends to favour the sustainability of the metropolitan system. With more efficient use of the already developed areas, the need for occupation of more land and for increased capacity for movement is avoided, in theory. Intensification of the use of an area that is well served by public transportation that could be improved even further contributes to the decreased use of private vehicles. It is easy to see how such arguments are also valid for any city of a certain size and with a certain degree of public transportation, as is the case with a number of cities in the metropolitan area.

In this connection, we should stress that Article 3 of the new Urban Development Law makes specific mention of the rehabilitation and renewal of urban land as lines of action to be taken into consideration for sustainable urban development, a mention that is definitely in keeping with advocacy of making the best possible use of developed land before occupying new land.

The first of the lines of action of Article 2 of Barcelona's Agenda 21 is totally coherent with this criterion and advocates the defence of the existing compact and diverse city:

"Improve the quality of consolidated urban areas and proceed through urban renewal to rehabilitate those that are obsolete or run down, respecting the characteristics of the old neighbourhood centres, to attain full use of the urban area and reduce the demand for new land."

The second line of action for this objective refers to a basic criterion, which should now be taken into account in the definition of urban growth and should be required with greater insistence in the renewal of urban areas:

"Maintain and promote the complexity of the city. Adapt urban development regulations, taxation and activity ordinances to favour a compact structure, mixture of activities and diversity of uses and relations between social sectors, with jobs and housing in all neighbourhoods."

It is clear enough that urban renewal in Barcelona has followed this approach with no substantial deviation until now. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to make a number of observations to point up aspects that should be kept in mind.

Rates and Context of Urban Renewal
Firstly, we need to remember that it is not reasonable to demand that the whole city should be in optimum condition at all times, i.e. with the whole of its physical body ready to play the role corresponding to the most economically and environmentally efficient use of its space.

This is an ideal to aspire to, but it should not lead us to carry out all possible renewal programmes at once. On the one hand, urban renewal must follow guidelines that are appropriate to what can actually be accomplished in a specific time; on the other hand, the rate of renewal must allow a positive recomposition of the social content of the areas targeted for renewal. We can also state that it is not undesirable for a city always to have a certain proportion of areas pending renewal that can take in social realities that are inevitably marginalised by the orthodoxy of urban development. These areas will not always be the same ones; such a situation would indeed be a serious one. The renewal of certain areas occurs simultaneously with the decline and obsolescence of others, which then become the object of future renewal. We might say that the city must reinvent and renew itself continuously, and that it must also always have parts that have not yet attained the new standards of urban rationale, while not necessarily abandoning the hope that they will one day attain them.

Secondly, in connection with the mixture of business activity and housing required for urban areas, we must take into account the dynamics of change affecting demographics and jobs in Barcelona, and other municipalities in similar circumstances, that have been noted in recent years and can be foreseen for the near future. Barcelona, which has a number of housing units limited by planning restrictions and that, with the lack of any further possibility for growth, is unlikely to exceed 700,000, is losing population through the decrease in the average occupation of housing units due to the ageing of the population and the rise of new types of families, meaning that the theoretical four inhabitants per housing unit used for calculations in the 1960s will drop to around two, where it is likely to stabilise. Therefore, Barcelona will probably continue to lose population, unless immigration, bringing with it much higher rates of occupation, compensates for the loss, a situation that we do not see as being altogether desirable.

In addition, the transformation of industrial zoning standards to allow for occupation by a broader range of business activities with a much higher rate of jobs per built-up area than in older industrial facilities could lead to an increase in the number of localised jobs in the city accompanied by a decrease in the number of workers living in Barcelona. We might consider it normal for the central municipality of a metropolitan area to show a certain imbalance in favour of localised jobs, but we must also bear in mind that this gives rise to rates of obligatory mobility that have to be taken into account.

For these reasons, and also with the aim of facilitating to a certain extent the distribution of tertiary activities in the region, I believe that we ought to consider the possibility of fostering a greater presence of housing, with a high proportion of affordable housing, in the areas affected by urban renewal programmes in the future. I should also add that the main problem with substantial projects of affordable housing, with controlled prices, is not the fact they create ghettos or enclaves, as is often claimed, but that they will never be sufficient to satisfy the foreseen short-term requirements.

Sustainability also has a component of a social nature; we must ensure that there will be sufficient equity to promote the required cohesion. In this connection, the availability of affordable housing for those who need it is fundamental. Likewise, it would be a mistake to think that this is possible within the municipalities of Barcelona, L'Hospitalet or Santa Coloma, etc. all of them cities with no further room for expansion.

On the other hand, it is worthwhile to ensure that, within the municipality, the proportion between housing and business activity is the best for the city and the most appropriate for the region's environment.
Lastly, it should be noted that although we are in favour of a dense city, this does not mean that all increases in the density of existing urban areas are positive. We must not lose sight of the fact that in the municipalities of the central metropolitan agglomeration there are many areas where urban renewal should, if at all possible, give rise to a substantial decrease in the existing volume of construction.

1. Papers. Barcelona Metropolitan Area, no. 36.

Page 45
by Ferran Porta i Visa
Director of Environmental Institutional and Co-ordination of AGBAR

At the beginning of the 21st century, sustainability has come to the fore as a major challenge for society. It is unquestionable that measures to attain sustainability must be taken and implemented in all areas, and water is one of the factors most clearly implicated in this challenge.
The European Union is very aware of this need and has stressed it with the approval of the Council Directive establishing the community framework for action in respect of water policies (2000/60), known as the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Nevertheless, in order to achieve sustainability in the water supply, action must first be taken at the level of the general public. Barcelona has adopted this position and accordingly has dedicated one section of its Agenda 21 to the integral water cycle, a concept including the supply of drinking water and sanitation (sewer mains, sewage treatment and eventual re-use or disposal through return to the environment).

Present Situation
The sources of the city of Barcelona's water supply are both surface water and groundwater. Surface water is taken from the Ter River (made suitable for consumption at the Cardedeu treatment plant) and the Llobregat River (made suitable for consumption at the Sant Joan Despí and Abrera treatment plants). Groundwater is extracted from the water tables of the Llobregat delta and the Barcelona plain.

Approximately 95% of the water consumed in the city is from the Ter and Llobregat rivers, while the remaining 5% is from the wells of Cornellà and Sant Feliu. Meanwhile, the progressive abandonment of the wells used by industrial enterprises in areas of the Barcelona plain and the delta of the Besòs River has caused the level of the water table to rise back to its original level. This has made it necessary, in order to protect the underground and the foundations of some buildings, to extract approximately 17 hm3 of water yearly, of which 2 hm3 are destined for consumption, while the remainder is disposed of through the sewer system. It is estimated that the city's water table contains exploitable reserves of approximately 20 hm3 yearly.

Of the water reaching consumers (between 7% and 8% is lost through leaks in the mains), 64% is destined for household use, 29% for commercial and industrial use and 7% for public use. In addition, water consumption has decreased by around 25 hm3 in recent years, thanks to savings by household and industrial users; in 1987, total water consumption was over 138 hm3, while in 2001 it amounted to 116 hm3, to which must be added the 2 hm3 from private wells and 1 hm3 of bottled water (it is worth noting that this 1 hm3 costs consumers over _210 million, while the other 116 hm3 cost them only _154 million, including taxes). Average billed domestic water consumption per inhabitant amounts to 49.2 m3 per year, i.e. 134.6 l per inhabitant daily.

In connection with water saving measures, it is worth noting that the majority of Barcelona's inhabitants take measures to reduce consumption. For example, according to surveys 94% of Barcelona citizens shower instead of bathing, 87% shut off the faucet while brushing their teeth, 85% shut off the faucet while washing up and 83% only use dishwashers with a full load.

Sewage, estimated at a volume of 520,000 m3 daily, is drained through 1,595 km of sewer mains and is treated at the Besòs sewage treatment plant or dumped directly into the sea through the Zona Franca. It is estimated that 70% of city's sewage, i.e. 102 hm3, is treated, when it is not raining, while 42 hm3 are dumped untreated through the new undersea outlet.

The municipal sewer mains receive a flow of 190 hm3 yearly. Control of the sewer mains is centralised by means of remote control systems, and these mains also drain rainwater runoff. In the event of heavy rains, variations in the volume of flow are controlled by means of three holding tanks, located on Carrer Viladomat, in Zona Universitària and on Carrer Bori i Fontestà, with a total capacity of 273,000 m3. Four more holding tanks are now under construction (with a total capacity of 170,000 m3), to be completed in 2002 and 2003.

These holding tanks are being built to deal with the consequences of the rainfall patterns typical of the Mediterranean, since Barcelona receives most of its yearly precipitation, an average of 600 mm, at the end of summer and during the autumn. This heavy rainfall causes flooding and malfunctions of the existing sewage treatment plants. The city is highly impermeable (approximately 75%) and this means that most of the rain that falls drains into the sewer mains and these cannot handle such a large volume of water properly. The city receives some 40 hm3 in this way yearly.

The drinking water supply is sufficient in volume thanks to the optimisation of distribution in the city. However, we must ensure a sufficient supply in the event of drought and this can only be attained by increasing the volume, since per capita consumption can hardly be reduced further. Such an increase would also cover consumption requirements resulting from potential demographic and/or industrial growth.

The city's water supply meets chemical and bacteriological standards, although its organoleptic qualities (taste and smell) could be improved.
The sewer mains are of the combined type, i.e. they carry both sewage and rainwater runoff. When convective type rains occur, as is very common in the Mediterranean basin, the sewage treatment plants cannot treat the full volume that they receive and the combined mains system discharges through its outflow, causing environmental pollution.
The necessary response, then, is the reduction, already under way, of these combined systems and completion of the infrastructure of underground holding tanks and valve/gates, to divert and withhold excessive flows and then deliver them gradually to the sewage treatment plants when the storm is over.

Nevertheless, the most urgent task at present is to provide a solution to the current non-compliance with the Directive on urban sewage treatment (91/271), since around 30% of the city's sewage is dumped untreated.
This need is also now being addressed, since the sewage treatment plant under construction in the municipality of El Prat de Llobregat will come on line soon and will provide full treatment in 2004. In addition the Besòs sewage treatment plant needs to be expanded and requires installation of a secondary treatment process, also planned for completion in 2004.

The main challenges facing us in connection with application of the Agenda 21 in respect of the water cycle are the following:
·Planning and implementation of a sustainable model for water management.
·Awareness of social agents to foster water saving measures and good practices for water use.
Given the current situation and hydrological balance, the task force assigned to the water cycle for Barcelona's Agenda 21 considered the most important factors for achievement of environmental sustainability for this resource. The task force worked with data from 1997, but those data have been updated for this article.
We also took into account that, although the work focussed on the municipal geographical area, it can only be considered meaningful in the overall water context of Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

The objectives set out below were considered the most important:
a) Reduction of per capita consumption to maintain total use, making
use more efficient.
b) Complete and satisfactory sewage treatment.
c) Gradual elimination of combined system outflows during storms.
d) Use of groundwater and water from sewage treatment plants.
e) Achievement of an ecologically acceptable level of quality for the
waters of the
Besòs and Llobregat rivers and prevention of pollution of the sea front.
f) Citizen awareness of the rational use of water, its value and environ- mental conservation.
In addition, and although this aspect was not analysed by the task force and does not figure on the Agenda 21, we must bear in mind that one of the factors contributing to sustainable development is the financial aspect.

In this connection, the Water Framework Directive states that by 2010 member states must have implemented rates policies incorporating appropriate incentives for consumers to use water resources efficiently and providing for appropriate contribution by the various economic sectors (domestic, industrial and agricultural) to covering the costs of the service, including the environmental cost and the cost of the resources.

The European Commission supports a rates policy that applies the principle of cost recovery, has a structure providing incentives, fosters measurement of consumption and incorporates the principle that "the polluter pays".
Thus the overall price paid by the consumer could be calculated as follows:
F = a fixed rate based on overhead costs, general taxes, etc.
a = a fee per cubic metre of water consumed
Q = the volume of water consumed in cubic metres
b = a fee per cubic metre of water polluted
Y = the volume of water polluted in cubic metres

Application of this formula would introduce an incentive for consumers to use water more efficiently and pollute less, since reduction of the amount Q and/or the pollution produced Y would give rise to a reduction of the overall price paid P by the consumer.

The value assigned to F could vary, depending on the potential for consumption by the household or enterprise.
In addition, it would be possible to introduce the so-called progressive household rates, consisting of two or more blocks of consumption with increasing prices. This would contribute further to a reduction of consumption and pollution.
Each block would establish a maximum number of cubic metres for Q and Y. Rates would increase from lower blocks to higher blocks.

In certain cases, an increase in the number of blocks results in a situation where large families with low incomes must pay substantial amounts because they consume water at the high price of the third block, for example.
This imbalance has been compensated in Barcelona and its metropolitan area for families of five or more by establishment of per capita consumption of 100 litres daily. Therefore, for a family of five this would amount to 500 litres daily, equal to 45 m3 per calendar quarter. Thus, if the first block is 18 m3 and the second is 36 m3 and this family consumes 90 m3, it will pay for 18 m3 in the first block, 27 m3 (45-18) in the second block and 45 m3 in the third block, in comparison with the 18 m3, 36 m3 and 54 m3 for a high-income family.

An effective policy for water rates has a demonstrable impact on demand for different uses, particularly agricultural uses, but also industrial uses and domestic uses outside the home (such as public washrooms, for example). This direct impact of rates on water consumption and pollution can help to prevent excessive extraction of groundwater (and improvement of the rehabilitation of water tables) and recovery of the ecological volume of rivers.

Lines of Action to be Followed
The initial premise consists of expanding knowledge of the integral water cycle throughout the metropolitan area and forecasting the evolution of water flows, to allow us to draft a sustainable hydrological balance for 2010, or at least one that is more in keeping with the situation foreseen.

This demands co-ordinated planning by all agents involved in water management and formulation of a programme for research, development and innovation (R+D+i) to foster the application of new technologies.
The following is a summary of the specific lines of action to be undertaken to achieve the objectives set out in section 4:
Objective a):
· Apply new technologies to treatment of surface water for drinking water.
· Augment the efficiency of supply systems for industry and irrigation.
· Achieve reduction of excessive demand by households, enterprises, public services and irrigation where such demand exists.
Objective b):
· Complete construction of the Llobregat sewage treatment plant.
· Complete expansion and improvement of the Besòs sewage treat- ment plant.
Objective c):
· Improve the sewage mains and construction of rainwater runoff hol- ding tanks.
Objective d):
· Improve control and exploitation of groundwater.
· Implement tertiary treatment systems for sewage, for certain uses.
Objective e):
· Use water from sewage treatment plants to maintain the ecological volume of the Llobregat and Besòs rivers.
· Set up a simulation of the functioning of the sewage mains to allow control of diversion of flows to sewage treatment plants during rains- torms.
Objective f):
· Disseminate information on the integral water cycle.
· Publicise the breakdown of costs making up the charges for the ser- vice, including the environmental and service costs.
· Promote campaigns aimed at fostering savings in water consumption in all sectors (household, industrial and agricultural)

  barcelona metròpolis mediterrània   /   last update: november 2002                                   mail _ @       to print