“We don’t want to become like Venice,” is the cry from Barcelona’s new government.
Comparing Venice to Barcelona is problematic given the Spanish city has a population of 1.6 million compared to the Italian tourist centre’s 60,000. The tourist industry has long overwhelmed Venice.
A more relevant discussion is how does a city like Barcelona avoid a decline like Venice, in my interview with the deputy mayor Antoni Vives in 2013 he described his aim to see the city develop new industries and build on its existing strengths.
The new mayor’s concerns about soaring property costs displacing residents are valid –and shared with every major city in the world.
For Barcelona though the real challenge is to stay relevant in a changing global economy. For the moment the Spanish city has a long way to go, and five hundred years, before its leaders can worry about becoming the new Venice.