Photo: Angela Rodríguez Castillo Personal Archive

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CICdB is a series of collective creation and research processes aimed at restoring the memory of the informal city and activating it in the present, that is, the construction of knowledge and the establishment of practices around informal manifestations (past and present) of the urban. CICdB is an initiative that wants to adopt strategies, ways of doing and perspectives that are typical of the informal city, the barraca (self built hut).
The work processes of the CICdB are organized around the History Workshop, an ongoing space of participation and collective organization open to the former residents of the barracas of L’Hospitalet, as well as any other interested parties.

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    Some questions that have arisen from these processes are: can we recapture the stories and subaltern knowledges from the city outskirts? Can we collectively construct new ones? From the barraca can we organize new epistemological devices that are not subject to the hegemonic models of production of social space?

    LaFundició launched this project in mid-2015, as a result of previous actions and processes linked to the informal city and its memory, and out of a desire to critically reflect on the idea of ​​institutionality. Our work has enabled us to observe how institutions are articulated within a wider web of factors, that is, between the institutions and the network of relationships between discourses, ways of doing things, policies, tools and structures that shape them.

    LaFundició initially got the project moving by, opening the process upto a wide and varied network of collaborations with people, groups and organizations. Neighbours of Bellvitge and Gornal (former residents of the La Bomba, Can Pi and La Cadena neighborhoods in L’Hospitalet), the amateur archivist Jorge Blasco, the Research Center of L’Hospitalet, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, and La Virreina – Image Center have all been actively involved in the project in different ways.

    In 2015, CICdB was selected as the runner-up for the CCCB’s 1st International Cultural Innovation Award. In 2018 the CICdB evolved into the European project Where the city loses its name with fellow partners Binaural / Nodar in Portugal and AltArt in Romania.

Photo: Dolores Frit Personal Archive


Un año más reiniciamos el Taller de historia del CICdB en el Centre Cultural Bellvitge-Gornal. Todos los jueves de 18 a 20 h.

El Taller de historia es un espacio en el que antiguos vecinos y vecinas de los desaparecidos barrios de barracas de L’Hospitalet se encuentran para recuperar colectivamente la memoria de los lugares que habitaron. También está abierto a todas aquellas personas que quieran colaborar en esta tarea. En el taller no sólo hablamos de las historias de estas barriadas sino que es
también un lugar de encuentro y desde el que organizar acciones para difundir esta memoria: desde la Sardinada o los boletines hasta la iniciativa para un futuro monumento a los vecinos y vecinas de la Bomba.


How do we organize an archive that meets the characteristics of the informal city, how do we think about the archive from the barraca? If we consider the archive to be a device of power and control, is it possible to think of an archive that does not reaffirm the forms of oppression that have historically been exercised over the informal city through its representation? Is it possible to build a community archive, that is, an archive built to serve the community, to appropriate the means of production of symbols and knowledges?

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    These are some of the questions that have articulated the conception and creation process of the CICdB archive. The CICdB archive to date collects images and documents in digital format contributed by former residents of the informal districts of Hospitalet (who still keep them under their custody and care). The structure of the CICdB archive was initially devised in collaboration with amateur archivist, writer and independent researcher Jorge Blasco in 2018. Luca Rullo provided technical response to this structure, creating the digital platform for the archive.

Photo: Nieves Castillo Personal Archive

History workshop

The work processes of the CICdB are organized around the History Workshop, a space for participation and collective organization open to former residents of the barracas of L’Hospitalet, as well as to all those interested in the collective restitution of the memory of the places they inhabited. he workshop is not only a place to talk about the stories of these neighborhoods, but it also serves as an informal meeting point (and sometimes a place to reunite with old friends); it is a place where we listen closely, collaborate, and make decisions to organize actions aiming at spreading this memory.

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    These dynamics contribute to the emergence of specific work proposals that are discussed and developed collectively with the support of LaFundició. Since its launch in 2015, the CICdB History Workshop has given rise to the following projects and lines of work:

    • • Archive: An archive intended as a dialogic and performative device that operates under informal logics and archiving modes.
      • Rromano kidipen: Rromano kidipen can be translated from Rromano as a “rroma cultural encounter”, a meeting to chat and share memories and knowledges linked to the rroma community of La Cadena, one of the former informal settlements in L’Hospitalet.
      • Routes: Since the beginning of the CICdB project, several routes have been organized around the land occupied by the current Economic District of L’Hospitalet, in which the neighborhoods of La Bomba and La Cadena were located. The routes connect the past of the territory with its present, linking the memory with a genealogy of the current landscape.
      • Future monument to La Bomba residents: A project for the installation of a water pump in the place where the entrance to the missing district of La Bomba was located, in front of the current Gran Via 2 Mall Route 2. The everyday and functional nature of the intervention points at the relation between memory and monumentality.
      • CICdB Bulletins: Publications in newspaper format narrating the history of the disappeared shantytowns, written by their protagonists.
      • La Sardinada: Reunion of former neighbors of La Bomba, Can Pi, La Cadena and La Sangonera. The reunion showcases the progress of the History Workshop and develops various initiatives to deepen and expand our lines of work: mapping, archiving, interviews, etc.
      • Barraca: A community space dedicated to the understanding and practice of the city through informality. An architectural and urban planning laboratory to experiment with the constructive practices and the informal ways of making a city, particularly with the possibility of autonomous decision-making over the environment and the ways of modifying it based on the needs of the communities.
      • CICdB Exhibition: Can Pi, La Bomba, La Cadena, La Sangonera: Exhibition opened in 2018 in the Museum of L’Hospitalet showing the collective work processes developed for three and a half years in the CICdB project. The exhibition was accompanied by a program of talks and parallel activities in order to extend the debates launched from the CICdB project.


CICdB bulletins are newspaper publications that cover the history of the disappeared shantytowns written by their protagonists.

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    # 0 La Bomba - Families Soriano Villanueva and Salines Gil

    Portrait – made out of texts, images and documents – of the families Soriano Villanueva and Salines Gil, told by Narciso Soriano Salines, a descendant of both families and who spent his childhood in the La Bomba neighborhood.

    # 1 La Bomba - Back view. Juani Ruiz and Joan Milà

    2 La Bomba - I was a neighbor of a slum. Antonio Villegas Martín

    # 3 La Bomba - Rodríguez Castillo Family

    # 4 La Bomba - Workers’ Housing Cooperative of La Bomba

Photo: Presentation of bulletins # 1 and 2 with the historian Mercè Tatjer at the Bellvitge Library.


The architecture and urban planning of informal shantytowns are characterized by a precariousness that does not guarantee optimal living conditions. However, in its constructive practices and informal ways of making a city we can also find some potentials that the planned city has lost. Especially regarding the ability to independently make decisions concerning the built environment and to modify it based on the needs of the communities who inhabit it.

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    The future headquarters of the CICdB is operates as a display of architectural and urban planning technologies (in terms of construction, regulations and architectural programs) to explore and develop the power of informality in the construction of space and the citizen exercise of right to the city.
    In this regard, the future headquarters of the CICdB will explore and update the constructive and social virtues of the informal city, avoiding the skills deficits often associated with self-construction:

    1.  Adaptability: The ability to adapt the built space to the evolution of changing needs in its uses and programs, using “soft” and reversible construction techniques.
    2. Sustainability and economy: The reuse of materials and the use of simple construction techniques reduce the environmental and economic cost of building.
    3. Democratization and community: Direct participation in the design and construction of the space strengthens community bonds and opens a democratic space for decision-making on the material conditions of existence of communities.

    The main feature of the program of the headquarters of the CICdB will be the interrelation of the various lines of work of the CICdB and will have to fulfill two fundamental programmatic tasks:

    1. Headquarters of the CICdB community archive: The CICdB archive will have a physical space in order to conserve and disseminate ways of making a city linked to the history of informal neighborhoods. At the same time, the archive headquarters brings together the different domestic archives of former residents of the shantytowns (which will act as the “domestic custodians” of the community archive). We are talking about a community archive so that, in addition to preserving the documents, the archive will have the main task of paying attention and restoring community bonds and the production of knowledge and relationships.
    2. Social and cultural space to think about the city (from the point of view of the informal city):
      a. Social and cultural space: The headquarters of the CICdB will be largely a social and cultural space run by the residents of the old barracas, with the support of LaFundició, open to the community and their needs for relationship spaces, aimed at restoring the memory of the shantytowns but also to the production of practices and contemporary thought about the city environment through research, work and public activities.
      b. Public space: This program includes not only the building itself, but also its surroundings, conceived as a public space where various activities can be carried out, such as updating practices related to the act of building the barracas such as urban gardens, neighborhood gardens and other reproductive activities.
      c. Kitchen: The built space of the headquarters will have the kitchen as a central space that articulates the social life of the building, putting care work at the center of community life and updating the non-segregation of domestic spaces inside. the barracas.
      d. Documentation Center: The headquarters will have a Documentation Center / Library of the Informal City, which will issue publications and documents related to the various informal city manifestations around the world.

The Sardinada 2. El Gornal (L'Hospitalet), June 2018.

Where the city loses its name

What is the point of talking about memory in the barraca neighbourhoods (informal self-built settlements)? In what way are the barraca neighbourhoods part of the city and European heritage? How can we think about heritage when nothing material remains? What can we learn from the barraca neighbourhoods for a better understanding of the contemporary city?

These are some of the questions that run through “Where the city loses its name”, a project with the participation of LaFundició (L’Hospitalet), AltArt (Cluj, Rumanía) and Binaural/Nodar (Nodar, Portugal), who are developing work processes involving the informal city in past and present in order to analyze current manifestations of “the urban” and to think about its future.

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    We can understand the city as a palimpsest where innumerable human (and non human) actions have marked its surface throughout history and multiple layers have accumulated and overlapped, slowly sedimenting over centuries.

    In the last decades, European cities have undergone deep transformations due in most cases to the spatial, colonising,demands of global capitalism: i.e. outsourcing, construction of big logistic infrastructures, touristification or the gentrification of their historical centres.

    The barraca neighbourhoods, as well as their inhabitants, rarely fill more than a footnote in the pages of the history of the cities (if indeed they are not completely omitted). However, in its multiple manifestations, the informal has played and plays not only a significant role in how are cities have come to be, but can also give us the keys to imagining another city.

    In the face of a business orientated approach to city governance, and widespread commercialisation in policy and planning (such as speculation, branding, commodification etc.) can the barraca neighbourhoods, and their self-organized ways of living and of making a city, be a reference for building alternatives? Can the way communities are woven together in the barracas be useful to generate alternatives to a society where each individual thinks of himself as independent from the rest?

    Finally, it is worth recalling the struggles of the people of the informal city and, whilst distancing ourselves from the narratives that represent them only as victims without agency, we remember and condemn the forms of both material and symbolical exclusion which they historically have faced.

Photo: Pata-Rât en Cluj (Romanía) Informal self-built settlement, 2019

The Sardinada

The Sardinada is an annual event fostered and organized by the History Workshop (CICdB) where old residents of the barraca neighbourhoods of Can Pi, La Bomba, La Cadena and La Sargonera meet to eat, drink, talk and share memories together. The  event also offers continuity to the work developed from the workshop itself.

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    In the events organised to date, the CICdB archive has been shared and extended; the different issues of the CICdB bulletin have been presented and distributed; the map of La Bomba has been extended and we have made a series of radio programmes in the street. Furthermore, at each event the new initiatives of the CICdB are presented, such as an exposition about the neighbourhoods of the barracas of Gran Via Sud at the Museu d’Història de L’Hospitalet, a project to install a (working) water pump on the Gran Via as a monument to the people of La Bomba, or the project to self-build a barraca as the future base of CICdB.

Photo: The Sardinada 1, El Gornal (L’Hospitalet), 2017
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