Participatory process. New community uses of Can Soler

The project consists of coordinating and revitalizing a participatory process to draft a landscape project in the surroundings of the historic Can Soler farmhouse in the Sant Genís dels Agudells neighborhood. The participatory project is called, “Defining New Communal Uses for the Surroundings of Can Soler” and it is advocated by the Neighborhood Plan of the Government of Barcelona. The process is designed and conducted with the support of Joan Calsamiglia, an expert in community work process techniques.

The main objective is to develop a procedure and methodological proposal using participatory processes to emphasize in the project: communal uses, the relation between the farmhouse, its environment, and the Collserola Forest, and the assessment of the landscape heritage recovery.

To do this, three basic criteria are established to work cross-sectionally over the course of four participatory sessions: the communal uses, the pedestrian pathways, and the environment of the Can Soler farmhouse.

At the municipal level, the main stakeholder participants are the neighborhood experts, the Horta Guinardó District, citizens of the Neighborhood Plan and the architects who wrote the basic and executive project, Espinás y Tarrasó s.c.p. Also intervening are the Urban Ecology Government of Barcelona, Public Health Agency of BCN, BIMSA, Social Economy Commissioner Department, Catalan Water Agency, and Collserola Forest. The local participants are AAVV Sant Genís, the Agudells Collective, Senglar Groc Cooperative, Horticulture in Action, The Tres Turons Foundation, The School of Floral Design and Landscaping, and The Mare de Déu of Montserrat of SGA School.

We began and coordinated the following work sessions:

Session One: Exploration: Consists of an analytical journey of the various points of observation. The main purposes are to register and to diagnose the neighborhood needs to begin the discussion, to convey the architects’ technical point of view on each key space, to generate a report for the team of architects, to establish a launching point for the project, to generate a common knowledge framework, to expand the perspectives of each party, and to detect internal tensions.

Session Two: Collaboration With Experts: 25 people in attendance in July 2017. The objective is to publicize the scope of municipal experts taking into account criteria from different areas involved and from neighborhood organizations. It promotes the creation of a space for the organizations to directly communicate with the experts and to be able to explain their contribution and positioning, to offer an opportunity for the teams to explain their vision, and to begin the debate between city experts and local organizations.

Session Three: Involvement of the Citizens: 43 people in attendance in October 2017. The main objective is to define and to reach an agreement about the new communal uses of the Can Soler environment in order to facilitate the development of the project. It discusses, evaluates, and contributes to the first adaptation of the draft that identifies the primary needs regarding usage, accessibility, and technical services from the two previous site visits. Organized into five months of work in mixed groups of eight people including municipal experts, specialized architects, and neighborhood and organization representatives guarantees diverse participation. Each group assesses the agreements, disagreements, and questions and contributes to the presented project. Every criteria applies to the diverse spaces for the group project in terms of access, communal use, and technical service. They are also added to the water system and public spaces around the farmhouse.

The participatory process was defined and agreed upon with the team of architects, Espinás-Tarrasó, and with the Neighborhood Plan team responding to the demand of the client.

Fourth Day: Presentation of Results: 45 people in attendance in November 2017. The objective is to finalize the participatory process and to validate the results derived from the events in the draft giving response to the process’ contribution, explaining by the Espinás-Tarrasó architecture studio. A debate is stimulated in the form of alternating questions expressed by the team of experts.

Completing the participatory process, the client continues the closing of the management process. The process has been the emphasis of the issue of parking, the water system, the future terracing of Can Soler park, the entrance to the Mare de Déu of Montserrat of SGA School, the security and the maintenance of the future park space, the connections with the Torrente Font Bacallá and the fondalada path, the management of the farmhouse, the budgeting of the construction process, the possible collaboration strategies, and the request to make new public facilities that can become a center of interpretation of nature and symbolize the identity of a neighborhood that has historically struggled to meet community needs.

Video of the process

Related news


Cíclica [space·community·ecology]


Joana Calsamiglia


Pla de Barris Sant Genís dels Agudells i la Teixonera, Foment de Ciutat. Ajuntament de Barcelona (coord. Mariona Prat)

Project year



4 de May de 2018


Energy cultures, Territory and landscape