Barcelona Rooftops

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"There are different estimates about the total area of rooftop covers in the city of Barcelona. Some sources mention 6,000 hectares, whereas the Barcelona City Council estimate puts it at 2,500 hectares, 67% of which are roof terraces. That is 17.6 million square metres, most of them currently not being used.

Barcelona Rooftops, a new initiative inspired by the principles of collaborative economics focuses on this immense untapped asset with the aim of encouraging and empowering the residents to reclaim their roof terraces. First and foremost, for personal enjoyment. To use the terraces as they were originally used may make our life easier and more sustainable.

To reclaim the roof terrace for the enjoyment of the residents. To restore, refurbish and fit out the terrace for neighbours or friends to gather there for meetings, drinks, parties or celebrations. To transform the terrace into an urban orchard for self-consumption, or into a pleasant garden. To set up rainwater collection and recycling systems, or solar or wind power generation systems. To bring natural elements back to roof terraces and to help reduce pollution and reverse climate change.

We propose that -occasionally- roof terraces be opened to the people of Barcelona or to foreigners, so as to obtain some income for the benefit of all the residents and to help the host (the neighbour in charge of a terrace) to supplement his or her income in times of crisis.

Your roof terrace may turn into a stage for small scale theatre plays or acoustic concerts. Or become an astronomical observatory to see and recognise objects in the sky, or a school of urban horticulture, or host a yoga or a wine tasting session. On the rooftop a chill out space may open to enjoy spectacular views of the city-skyline or a unique perspective of one of its monuments.

Barcelona Rooftops aims at being the interface or mediator between the residents -owners of the roof terrace-, the content providers (for cultural, educational or recreational events) and the local or foreign public.

Just as the guest room or the sofa are occasionally made available to visitors (Airbnb), the living room turns into a short-lived restaurant (Eatwith), the private car is shared (Blablacar, SocialCar), knowledge is opened up (Wikipedia) and so is copyright (Creative Commons), Barcelona Rooftops proposes that you share your roof terrace and turn it into a community asset.

To fulfil this task, Barcelona Rooftops will cooperate closely with other initiatives that have emerged very recently and are precursors of a new “roof terraces culture”. We refer to exciting projects such as the Growinpallet project which consists in creating urban orchards using planter boxes made with recycled materials and providing support and information to the building residents who want to be self sufficient in vegetables, fruits or herbs. Or Azoteas Colectivas (Community Roof Terraces), a group of architects whose aim is to support residents involved in participatory processes to reclaim and restore their building’s roof terrace for common use. Another project is Coincidencias-Terrats en Cultura (Coincidences-Roof Terraces in Culture) which runs a programme of quality theatre plays or musical performances on roof terraces and courtyards in Barcelona. We have established contacts or have already cooperated with them to advance our shared goal: reclaiming the Barcelona roof terraces.

Recently, the Barcelona City Council has announced a new plan known as Terrats Vius (Roof Terraces Alive). It is an initiative targeting the residents of buildings to advise them and co-finance the refurbishment of roof terraces for common use, and their transformation into green rooftops, orchards and gardens. The Barcelona City Council has committed itself to turning the rooves of all its buildings into green rooftops and to provide incentives to private building companies for doing likewise in new building projects.

Thus, the government of Barcelona joins successful experiences in cities around the world such as Vancouver, Chicago and Bogotá, and concurs in the effort to introduce positive changes in our lives. Small changes that will completely change life in cities." (