by Rebeca Iglesias, Claudia Alonso, Jan Bifolco and Xavier Gil
“El Raval”, the Barcelona district with the most contrasts and, is also, without a doubt, the most stigmatized. According to the media it is, above all, synonymous with insecurity and crime. As shown in the table elaborated by the city district, 57% of the news from Raval are about insecurity, doubling the percentage of crimes really happening 30%. Some residents claim that “el Raval” is losing its essence due to this stigmatization and the little physical and economic effort of the public administrations, which for years have turned their backs on the real problems present in the neighborhood: it is not just about strengthening the police forces and closing the “narco-flats”, but fighting against the social injustices, poverty and protecting the most vulnerable groups.
Raval Residents Banner: “We want a dignified neighborhood”; City District elaborated Table about the insecurity news published vs. real criminality in Raval and neighboring districts.
On the other hand, according to leisure entrepreneurs like Ramon Mas, “el Raval” is a neighborhood with a lot of history and great potential because it is a huge tourist attraction for people of all ages and nationalities. The conclusion of our research is that the neighborhood, due to its stigmatization, is well known for its negative aspects and very little for the positive ones, such as multiculturalism, leisure, shops and historic sites…Paradoxically, those who know the essence of “el Raval” the most are the tourists and visitors, those who do not live in Barcelona. Sadly, citizens of other neighborhoods in Barcelona and, in general, of other places of Catalonia and Spain do not dare to go into it and live it in their skin, conditioned by the fatalistic view of the media. Therefore, our goal with the IMAGE Mapping the city Project is to bring out not only the negative aspects, which are undeniable, but especially the positive ones, which are unknown for too many people.
Interview with Ramón Más Espinalt, Night Leisure Barcelona Guild Secretary