Contributing Editor: Michelle Santini'Fuhrer
Espai Germanetes is a green community run area around Eixample and Sant Antoni.
Garden areas are not few and far between in Barcelona, however this one is a rarity. This space looks like and is a harmonious colorful collection of allotments, work areas, play scopes, and other free areas. Adult and child expanses for the locals, the passers by, and the interested.
There is a weekly schedule stating 'what's on.' Pilates, acrobatics, other recreation, and a variety of host exhibitions. All activities are free with the exception of some food and drink events.
This area was brought into existence after a call for utilizing the vacant space in and around the city. After 5 years of inactivity, the city council launched 'Pla Buits Urbans' in 2013, hoping to excite the community and create a scheme to transform unused plots of land into vivacious spaces.
The winning project for “Espai Germanetes” was 'Recreant Cruïlles' – which saw the Neighborhood Association of l’Eixample Esquerre obtain temporary exercise of this area which is more than 5,500 square meters large. Mostly economically self-sufficient and locally run, it is maintained by and for the people.
Walking past it a few times, I had been intrigued but most times the gates were closed. Thus, when I caught the gates open, I engaged in some un-harmful investigation. There are many elements to this space, all collective and dulcet. Children resting within a dome covered area, 'folk' tending to vegetable patches, games cordially being played, all to the practice song of ukuleles.
People are welcome to wander in and roam around. Here you can find a place to read, observe, partake, and obtain first hand involvement in a space where all ages and the most local of locals spend their downtime. In this space, they are equipped to host conferences, debates, and lectures and you may wander upon an outside classroom environment.
The weekly chalkboard of events is situated on the perimeter walls and community posters. They also have a blog with a list of activities kept up to date: https://recreantcruilles.wordpress.com/espai-germanetes.
There is a true beauty to see these unused spaces given back to the locals to use for the benefit and betterment of their communities.