Population deconcentration and social restructuring in Barcelona, a European Mediterranean city

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140 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the processes of deconcentration or suburbanization in the Barcelona metropolitan area in Catalonia, Spain. In it I describe the major social forces driving changing land-use patterns and posit the question: Is there a particularly Mediterranean form of urban deconcentration? Although the growing preference of Catalans for a life at the urban periphery in some ways mimics American patterns of suburbanization, I argue that there are limits to the applicability of Anglo-American theories of deconcentration for the Mediterranean city. After briefly setting out the historical context for urban development in Barcelona, I describe the changing morphology of the city in recent years and explore the major trends-the pursuit of security, immigration from the developing world, changing family structures, among others-that make the process of deconcentration in Barcelona particularly Mediterranean in character. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Barcelona
  • Spain
  • Suburbanization
  • Urban deconcentration


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