In my numerous excursions in european cities the so-called periphery has often given me more emotions than the historical city centre. Maybe it is because I was born and raised in a periphery or because I mostly knew what expected me in the centre. The edge of town is more sober and exciting at the same time.
In my recent visit to La Chanca in Almeria I had been thoroughly prepared, both theoretically and emotionally, to meet an extraordinary urban reality. On the good side the ancient moorish origin, the proud spanish identity mixing up with the strongly rooted gypsy minority and recent immigration from Morocco. The tremendous topography, between the harbour and the caves where the stones to build the monuments of the cities were taken. The long standing engagement by the public administration and the third sector in urban regeneration policies that was awarded the Best Practice Award by the Unesco in year 2001. On the bad side the scarce integration of the 10.000 inhabitants of La Chanca in the social body of the city, the lack of jobs, derelict public infrastructure, schools, sport facilities, public gardens and many others things that make cities livable. But above all I was told about the incredible social potential of a community with its profound roots and immense vital energy.
I had very special guided tour around La Chanca in the framework of an intense and high level thematic seminar of the Urbact Links network and I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Maria del Mar, Manolo, Jose Antonio, Jose Carlos, Ramon and again Maria Del Mar for the experiences and the knowledge they shared with the partners.
Among the many pictures I took in Almeria I like to publish the pictures of people from La Chanca which I believe can express at best the essence of this amazing place.