‘Unpopular opinion’: I came to speak well of Gràcia

We all have a friend who never leaves the Gràcia neighborhood. Well, I’ll tell you… Look, I’m the friend. I moved from Madrid to Gràcia in October and I’m in that initial moment of falling in love where you only see the virtues. Understand me, I’ve gone from living in a Madrid neighborhood with a frenetic pace, to living in a neighborhood that looks a lot like a village. This has made my quality of life exponentially better. First of all, because of the small presence of cars that I find, considering that I live in a city. Many of the streets in the neighborhood are practically pedestrianized and have a considerable number of squares, where community life takes place. We could say that Gràcia was already a supervillage before supervillages existed.

I am aware that living there is a great privilege. The rental price is absolutely exorbitant—1,148 euros on average according to Incasòl—, gentrification has driven out many of its neighbors and the prices are prohibitive. Unfortunately, it is a global problem in Barcelona that needs to be solved urgently if we want the cities to be livable places. The difference between Gràcia and some areas of the city is that the neighborhood’s identity and personality resist. Although there are more and more hipster businesses, a large part of the trade continues to be of the neighborhood, the big chains have not swept away the traditional places and there are specialized shops, with their own identity, where the clerk knows you and gives you advice. A fantasy in the year 2024.

That a central district of a tourist city like Barcelona remains like this is, for the most part, thanks to its neighbors. Without a doubt, one of the main features that differentiates Gràcia from other areas is the strong associative fabric it has. Practically, every weekend you can find a popular activity organized by an organization: firefights, calçotadas, sausages, pole dances, castles, streets, cavalcades, storytellers, concerts, dances, giants… And, without overlooking the street commissions that are organized to decorate the neighborhood for the Gràcia festivities. All this makes you feel part of a community. In an increasingly selfish and lonely society, we could consider it a privilege.

I won’t deny it to you. Gràcia, like all neighborhoods, has its flaws. And so much that he has them. But all that will be another story… Today I came to explain that Gràcia is part of the Barcelona I love. And may it last.