Social-Environmental viability study for sustainable water management in La Clota


Authors: Cíclica [space·community·ecology] and Bosch-Capdeferro arquitectes

Members of Cíclica: Elena Albareda, Marta Serra

Client: Government of Barcelona

Project Year: 2014

Photography: Municipal Archive of the District of Horta-Guinardó

Water is a vital part of life and from the landscapes generated by social and economic management of water, a culture is created which transcends generations. Prior to the industrial revolution, water intervened in the majority of urban and peri-urban activities within the traditional cities. This allowed for the understanding of a city in relation to its territory and, thus, its natural systems. It is a relationship based on the organic productive model in which the citizen had an active role as a user of water, through community self-management, and production practices that adapt the demand for this scarce resource to the available supply in the river basin. Water was viewed as a public asset and the citizens had a knowledge and an active awareness of how to responsibly use the water as a social resource and a cultural asset. With the arrival of the industrial revolution, this model was considered out-of-date and the citizens lost their active role in the management of the resources, transforming the citizens into mere consumers of resources.

The objective of the report is to contribute materials to justify the viability and the need of a neighbourhood participatory intervention of the water cycle management in the neighbourhood of Clota. An intervention that proposes the enhancement of water as an intangible cultural heritage and the recovery of the practices associated with its routine management. The examination of potential value will allow for the social heritage reinterpretation to be the catalyst in the transformation of space from a sustainable perspective. In summary, it is a remedial intervention of the traditional water management heritage using current technical knowledge and considering the present social needs. This will contribute to the necessary vision change that promotes a new model of sustainable closed-cycle social metabolism.

Many factors affect community dynamics and can catalyse a change in perspective such as the potential of water and the surrounding organizing spaces, the generation of social dynamics, and the common meeting and liberation points. From these, five dimensions are enhanced: historical memory, pedagogical perception, sociability, and self-management. Another vision that questions the current unsustainable, unengaging, and passive model is a reconsideration of a new framework for the model in regards to cultural values.

The methodologies used for the intervention are the following:

Critical revision of the present situation: a contaminated social metabolism from the industrial era

Exploration of a past reference: the organic social metabolism

Proposal of a future scenario: the sustainable social metabolism

The model will focus on intervening in the management of rainwater runoff and other various sources of water in the environment in order to work towards a more efficient model to avoid the systematic generation of pollution typical of the industrial era urban model. This model is in compliance with the European Water Framework Directive.


  • Proposta d’aprofitament d’aigües de la xarxa d’aigües freàtiques de Barcelona segons mines pre-existents.
  • Proposta d’abastiment d’aigua de pluja i escorrentia tractada amb safarejos de fitodepuració per alimentar les parcel·les hortícoles.

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