On 29 May 2004, the Committee ParcCentralPark claimed an empty area next to the Avenida Diagonal, a main road that divides the neighbourhood Poblenou in Barcelona. The Commitee, initiated by City Mine(d), brought together local residents, small artisans and local enterprises, and aimed at highlighting the under-investment in public space within the 22@ development. With limited tools they cleaned the space and on 30 May officially opened ParcCentralPark.
About forty local residents, users of Can Ricart and sympathisers armed with brooms and spades started cleaning up the site. Its strategic importance manifested itself immediately in a peculiar way: in no time about one hundred members of the Spanish riot police in full gear removed the cleaners from the site. Once cleared, the site was surrounded and secured by the Guardia Civil as a forbidden zone. When after that, the ‘active’ citizens focussed their attention and spades on an adjacent plot barely a thousand square meters large, that also was stopped manu militari. The siesta respected by Guardia Civil as well as Spanish citizens brought the stalemate to an end.
From then on, “public cleaning meetings” were organised every Tuesday and Thursday, to keep the park clean. These meetings became the occasion to develop new initiatives like a petanque track and an urban garden, but more importantly to discuss and develop an alternative to government plans for the site and adjacent factory.
Public events like Sant Juan or a regular Friday OpenAir Cinema were used to promote and extend the Commitee ParcCentralPark, which after 9 months lead to a public hearing by Barcelona’s city government.