Today, September 26, the inauguration ceremony to begin construction of the La Balma cooperative housing development took place. Located on Carrer Espronceda with the entrance on Camí Antic de València, the building will have 20 flats, one of which will be used for households in the process of social reintegration.
The act of laying the first stone was attended by Juan Garibi, director of the ethical finance bank Fiare Banca Etica; Josep Vidal, general director of Social Economy, Third Sector, Cooperatives and Self-Employment; and Councillor for Housing Lucia Martin.
A ground-breaking social initiative
The Councillor, enthused to attend the first inauguration of works since taking office, said that initiatives like La Balma will help create “something that does not exist today, which is a public housing rental market“, and appreciates what these initiatives represent for society as a whole, as “they help promote a social economy of solidarity“. She also stated that the City Council will continue promoting similar projects and that “the alliance of public administration and cooperatives will break the neo-liberal economic logic that promotes individualism, and maximum benefit through the indebtedness of the people.”
Juan Garibi highlighted that these initiatives “are not easy, and all the steps are simpler when done in a different way, but we do what we do for the value it brings to the community and for the example we can set.” Josep Vidal commented that “in addition to changing the housing model, these initiatives generate cooperative spaces in the city and promote aid and solidarity“, before congratulating everyone who took part in the La Balma project.
Building characteristics The La Balma housing development on the lot of Carrer Espronceda will be the first of the winners of the contest launched by the Barcelona City Council to begin construction. The 2016 contest awarded municipal lots in cession of use for cooperative housing. The building planned in the joint proposal of Sostre Cívic and La Boqueria cooperative consists of 20 homes, one of which will be used for households in the process of social reintegration. The common and transitional spaces are important as they are designed to encourage human interactions, spontaneous encounters, and activities of the cooperative throughout the building.
Thus, the ground floor will have common areas like a space for bicycles, a lobby, and a space for organisations; the first floor will have a communal dining room and kitchen, and a double height multipurpose room; and the other floors are designed to enhance internal circulations.
The roof of the building will be a recreational space with shaded areas and agricultural gardens. The new building will be integrated into neighbourhood life, and will not be an alien or isolated element. In fact, the cooperative plans to share spaces with the neighbours by opening the main facade and common spaces to the park and green areas of Camí Antic de València.
The building is designed to achieve a reduced demand for all energetic consumption, and will have a changing section in order to offer optimal conditions to all homes, regardless of the different conditions of each floor.