We spend our lives trying to lengthen it, striving to become old while venerating the beautiful youth. We often leave our dreams – to cross the country in caravan – or the desires – to write a book – the desires, to learn to dance – for when it is already difficult to move without it hurting someone.
Today, and except for a lucky few, old age tends to be a painful state, quite clumsy, generally sad, often lonely and almost always wise. What do we do with that heritage? How do cities digest their old ones? Why will the cities treat the elderly better than we do in our homes? Do both attitudes have something to do? Could it be otherwise? Could it be worth it to get old if cities contribute to improving their daily lives? For years this blog defends that living with old people and children is a winning horse. The best cities are those that think about these two social groups. Devising cities thinking about the tranquility and security that elders and children need improves the life of all citizens. Let's see a concrete example.
The Turó e la Rovira It is one of the three fences that look towards Barcelona. With the Carmel and the Creueta del Coll forms the Park of the Three Hills, an exceptional viewpoint that much of the city has ignored for decades. Seven years ago, Imma Jansana and Jordi Romero won a European Prize for Public Space for the recovery of the mountain peaks, which had been very remotely an Iberian settlement (between the 4th and 1st centuries BC) and, more recently, the place where anti-aircraft batteries were installed to fight against the attacks of fascist aviation.
During the 50s, the Turó de la Rovira was a suburb of self-construction that with the eradication of barraquismo -in the 90s- the neighbors have been trying to dignify. So, recently, the Girona studio Bosch Capdeferro built in one of its streets, Marià Lavèrnia, the street-squares or the street-square (Square Street). This project explores the domestic character of the site and gives the hill a road access, a ramp, while converting the terraces bordering this access in public terraces. The idea is to facilitate mobility, making the street and the top of the hill accessible, and improve life, building meeting places with minimal intervention: leaving space to get a chair.
In the Turó de la Rovira, the old people have in the street the extension of their house, a place to sunbathe or watch the neighbors go by. The neighbors have that warning, the luxury of knowing that their elders are accompanied. Children see daily what is important in a neighborhood: to share the streets.