Urban Journalism Institute
Municipal Times Journal


Nestled in Barcelona’s Bordeta neighbourhood, Can Batlló is a testament to grassroots revitalisation and community empowerment. Once a 19thcentury textile factory, this historic space has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving from a symbol of industry to a vibrant hub of citizen self-management. Managed through a unique partnership between the public and the community, Can Batlló has redefined its purpose, offering an array of amenities and activities that cater to diverse interests and needs. It is a dynamic centre for social interaction and innovation, from event spaces and community libraries to repair workshops and housing cooperatives.

During the 2024 UCLG Retreat, participants had the opportunity to embark on a field visit to Can Batlló, experiencing first-hand the principles of public-community partnership. Under the theme of “public-community partnership to manage social spaces and basic services with civil society,” the visit provided insights into collaborative governance models and community-led initiatives.

The visit coincides with current efforts to transform the relationship between society and the global commons. Access to fundamental services is recognised as essential to community well-being. At a time when the importance of green public spaces, digital rights and clean environments is growing, Can Batlló stands as a beacon illustrating the role of the commons in fostering community participation and alternative governance models.

The activity continues UCLG’s previous efforts related to the Global Commons, such as the Future Envisioning Exercise on Reclaiming the Commons and UCLG’s GOLD VI report on “Pathways to Urban and Territorial Equality.”

If you couldn’t join the guided visit, we invite you to walk the city and explore Can Batlló!

For more information, visit their website: https://canbatllo.org

Cofounded by the European Union This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UCLG and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.