The draft of the POUM of Tarragona is committed to generating a new centrality in the Francolí
Sidewalks that suddenly disappear, shanty towns, large tracts of abandoned land and an environment of the river that the city has turned its back on throughout its life. It is the reality that one finds when going from Ponent to the Center of Tarragona or vice versa, a space through which thousands of people move every day, who mostly go by car or public transport, since walking or cycling is a real risk sport. And, despite this, there are many people who can practically be said to risk their lives walking or with an electric scooter, circulating through an unattractive area of passage, carved by large infrastructures and with similar characteristics to the entrances of the big cities.
This hostile environment is the barrier between the two Tarragonas, the one that separates the great center, with about 70,000 inhabitants, and the Ponent neighbourhoods, with a population of about 40,000 people. Two physically and socially separated cities that have the great challenge of looking at each other face to face.
The reality on this dividing line is the one that is centering the initial phase of the drafting of the POUM, in which aspects such as sewing, uniting and compacting are on the order of the day. In this sense, the preliminary draft of the future plan generates a new point of centrality on which all eyes are placed.
«We are in front of a drawing that articulates an urban transformation strategy»
Xavier Puig. Territory Councilor
"The easiest thing would be to plant vegetables and that's it, but we are in front of a drawing that articulates an ambitious urban strategy to transform this centrality between the two places in the city where the most people live," explains the councilor for Territori, Xavier Puig. He defends that the commitment is "combined, plural and not simplistic", in such a way that it includes new residential areas, a humanization of the main axes, the commitment to the railway and the tramway, in addition to the will that the Anella Verda and the orchard are also protagonists.
Regarding the road axes, Puig defends that right now both the T-11 and the N-340 are «infrastructures that connect Ponent with the center and at the same time isolate them. They are roads that unite cars and separate people. The objective is the "humanization" of these axes, transforming them into avenues, with wide sidewalks and a firm commitment to the bike lane. And here one of the first changes will be seen when the transfer of highways by the State becomes effective, which will allow the bridge over Francolí to be extended to Avinguda de Roma.
an agricultural park
As for the environment of Francolí, on the land of Horta Gran it is proposed to create an agricultural park, recovering the cultivation and orchard areas. "There was a macro-neighborhood almost as big as La Budellera and Terres Cavades, which we destroyed, dignifying it as another part of the Anella Verda," says the third deputy mayor. Although he does want to maintain the residential part in the triangle between the T-11 and the N-340, where there is now an area of shacks, some orchards and abandoned fields. "You have centrality in this great articulation, which allows us to generate an urban continuum between the Center and the Ponent, with streets and squares," Puig describes.
The third piece of this river façade, the closest to the mouth, maintains the transfer of the CLH and the subsequent transformation of this industrial area into a residential area, which should allow financing the operation. "They have to leave yes or yes," says the councilor, who explains that, although at first the relationship between the company and the City Council was hostile, this situation has changed and now there is a "total disposition" on the part of the company to look for a new location. "Surely we will remove some of the burdens that were there so that there is an indisputably viable plan left and they can leave."
The creation of homes in this area opens the door for residential use to also reach the Francolí industrial estate, where they want to introduce new uses to turn this decaying industrial area into an eco-neighborhood, with low-intensity industry and quality public spaces.
A little further from the first line of the Francolí wants to create another new residential area. In this case, on the land of partial plan 9, that is, behind the neighborhoods of La Floresta, Parc Riu Clar and L'Albada. The commercial project for which it was conceived has not been developed, so a change of uses is expected. "It is an urbanization done and dead of disgust that is now abandoned and allows us to muscle the other side of the T-11 and, therefore, there may be equipment," explains the person in charge of urban planning. Likewise, this sector has been defined as "strategic" so that the green areas that are generated connect the Anella Mediterránea and the Anella Verda, allowing the latter to reach Ponent. "There will be the interruption of the T-11 itself, but we generate a continuum that should allow going from Campclar or Bonavista with chirucas to La Llarga."
«The fact that there is a physical continuity does not mean that the city is sewn together»
Robert Casadevall. urban planner
There is one last piece that cannot be ignored in this proposed process. It is the transfer of Laboral to the land between Campclar and Bonavista, in a barren and abandoned area. "We promote this space that is unbeatable, because it is within the urban fabric, which should allow you to get there on foot or by bike," adds Puig.
The layout of the train
The POUM must also include the reservation of the land for the tramway, which is one of the great bets in the medium term to structure the central nucleus of the Camp de Tarragona. Likewise, in terms of railways, the construction of the future train station in Horta Gran is being considered, with a by the way parallel to the river, which connects with the AVE line. This is a subject that the architect Xavier Climent has studied for many years, who defends that "it is the opportunity for the future of the city". Climent believes that the Horta Gran is "the geographical center of the city". «It is a new point that should serve to link the neighborhoods, filling holes with infrastructures that will later attract other facilities. Because if you put the train station there, there will also be a bus and tram station. The question is to create a nucleus of life as they did with the Enfants-Rouges in Paris, bridging the gap, thirty years ago and which is now starting to work for them», he argues.
«The station in Horta Gran is an opportunity for the future of the city, it is the center»
Xavier Climent. Architect
For his part, urban planner Robert Casadevall is "quite skeptical of this way of stitching together the city." "Physically it is a very wide space and the rivers are always a rupture, the fact that there is a physical continuity does not mean that the city is sewn together", he argues. He gives as an example Diagonal Mar and La Mina, in Barcelona, separated by about 500 meters that can be traveled through streets. "The difference is huge," he adds.
From a constructive point of view, Casadevall affirms that the railway project "causes me many doubts", while he points out that "we should be very careful before building in Horta Gran, because it is a very environmentally sensitive space". "Tarragona is not a broken city that can be sewn up, it is simply badly cut", he explains. And, in this sense, this urban planner considers that one of the first questions that must be addressed in this area is the improvement of the accessibility and permeability of the T-11 and N-340. Furthermore, he defends the need to encourage this relationship and mobility between the two Tarragonas. "More things have to be done outside the center, because in the end what makes the city is the contact between people," he concludes.
The debate on the Horta Gran indirectly splashes the future of Llevant. While fourteen councilors are committed to centering the growth of the city in Ponent, the thirteen in the opposition –with the exception of En Comú Podem– want projects such as La Budellera and Horta Gran to continue. Regardless of what happens with the municipal elections in May, the studies on flooding and civil protection cannot be ignored, which in the previous POUM were already one of the workhorses and which in the post-Iqoxe scenario are still expected to be more demanding. "We should be very prudent when it comes to putting more weight on this sector," Casadevall points out in this regard.
For his part, Climent defends that "Francolí is an area for the future so that in 20 or 25 years we will have a meeting point for the city, but other growth must continue."
1. Horta Gran agricultural park. two. Residential area of the Horta Gran with the two proposals to locate the train station. 3.Ecodistrict of Francolí and CLH. Four. Partial Plan 9, which becomes residential. 5. Anella Mediterráneo. 6. Location proposal for Labor.