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By : Ana Júlia Pinto and Antoni Remesar

In the planning and design processes, the urban territories frequently face problems related to the lack of cohesion, not only regarding the morphological fragmentation but also fragilities of social and economic dynamics. The proposed concept of urban cohesion involves these two dimensions – the physical form of the city and the city’s socio-economic and socio-cultural dynamics. In introducing this concept our aim is to focus on the idea that public spaces play a fundamental role in those processes, understanding that they are organised in a systematic way. This means that public space is structured in a cohesive system on different territorial scales within the city, forming a "network of networks". Intending to contribute to the strengthening of urban cohesion, the study proposes a method capable of assessing public space networks in terms of their cohesion, not only within the urban structure of the neighbourhood, but also their links to the surrounding networks. This method assumes that the city is formed by diverse territories due to several reasons. Firstly, due to their specific history and genesis, secondly, due to their morphologic characteristics, and thirdly, because of their socio-economic and socio-cultural features. This leads to the key principle that the city is the place of diversity par excellence, and that it is this diversity that gives the city its own character and distinguishes it from other territories. Two cases in the city of Barcelona are analysed. The neighbourhood of Barceloneta, a historic quarter outside the city walls that is now part of its consolidated urban fabric, and the Baró de Viver neighbourhood, an area that can still be considered peripheral to the city.
Keywords : Public space, urban cohesion, public space network, urban diversity.

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