Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park
Torrent Estadella, The New Urban Fabrik
If Barcelona is to become a self-sufficient city with productive neighborhoods, its urban industry will have a key role. The term New Urban Fabrik merges two words that have been at odds for too long: “fabrik”, understood as factory or productive space; and “fabric”, the urban tissue of the city. This merger is possible thanks to the appearance of a thriving new urban industry that is green, intensive in added value, creates qualitative jobs and is perfectly compatible with all the other uses of the city.
Torrent Estadella, a centrally located but decadent and disconnected industrial area, provides a unique opportunity for this New Urban Fabrik to prosper and to crucially contribute to the city’s economic and environmental resilience.
The site is reconnected to the city through a system of Green Ramblas that ecologically manage rain water. These Green Ramblas recover the original meaning of rambla as “riera”, the typical intermittent streams along the Mediterranean coast which are fundamental water cycle and climate regulators and that formed the primeval urban order of Barcelona. The site will transform into an innovative Eco-Industrial Park, incorporating a wide array of sustainability and industrial symbiosis strategies, unfolding a truly Green Infrastructure, developing a clear governance model and actively promoting its businesses. The industrial fabric can also become more compact and urban to better blend with the compact and, therefore, sustainable, urban tissue of Barcelona.
Today, a New Urban Fabrik can come to life by turning the green industry into a city builder at the heart of our cities.
The Torrent Estadella industrial area in the Barcelona plain
Aa large site that has the size of a whole neighborhood (it has the same size, 30ha, as the Barceloneta neighborhood, between the old port and the beaches)
The site is surrounded by the city but historically disconnected from it
by the railway lines and a formerly polluted river
The Green Joints
Hhistorical barrriers turn into metropolitan parks
Past: the “rieres” (intermittent streams) as the primeval urban order of the Barcelona plain
Present: the historical "rieres" (intermittent streams) superimposed on the existing city
Future: the Green Ramblas: an evolution of the “rieres” system
Renaturalizstion of the city through the integration of Water Sensitive Urban Design (W.S.U.D) techniques towards resiliency in the torrential rain management in Barcelona
From “rieres” (intermittent streams) to Green Ramblas: 
Evolution of the city showing that the ancient structure of the "rieres" is still now a major system of urban axis linking the mountains to the sea and the rivers.
From “rieres” to Green Ramblas at the neighborhood scale
The layers that have shaped the site
The urban mesh
The reconnection to the surrounding neighborhoods
The Green Ramblas reconnecting the site with the surroundings
The Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park reconnected to the city through the Green Ramblas and the metropolitan parks
The Green Infrastructure
The Stream Streets, the Filtering Rambla and the Farm of Sant Andreu strive to close the water cycle on site.
Flood: the main issue regarding storm water in Barcelona
Recent flooding in Paral·lel Avenue caused by torrential rains in july 2011
Current solution to flooding: massive underground retention tanks
Current underground massive reservoir system (retention tanks) in Barcelona, which is not sufficient. Many more retention tanks are being built or planned, that will double the retention capacity. This system is highly inecological because rain water is not reused, but mixed with black waters. 
The Stream Street as a Green Rambla
towards a resilient rain water management in Barcelona using Water Sensitive Urban Design (W.S.U.D.) strategies
The Stream Street during a rain episode
The water seeps through permeable surfaces (in this case, the parking lots) and is stored along underground gravel canals
The Stream Street between rain episodes
The harvested water is slowly absorbed by the plants and trees
The streets of the Torrent Estadella area as Stream Streets
We propose that all the streets of the area contribute to the torrential rain water management, and that there is a hierarchy between these streets. Torrent Estadella Street and Passeig de la Verneda are Green Ramblas that follow the maximum slope and have the maximum water retention capacity. The other streets are considered as “tributaries” of theese Green Ramblas, with less retention capacity. The section of the underground gravel “canals” of each Stream Street has a dimension that follows the described hierarchy
Torrent Estadella Street (the main axis of the area) as a Stream Street
Typical plan and sections
Torrent Estadella Street (the main axis of the area) as a Stream Street
Perspective section
The Filtering Rambla
On the area currently occupied by the railway tracks, a 700m long and 1,4ha vegetal treatment plant will clean the waste water produced by the industries
Historical urban farming within XIXth century walled Barcelona
There is a tradition of urban and periurban farming in Barcelona.
Barcelona and its plain were self-sufficient in the production of food until the mid XXth century.
In the productive area of Torrent Estdella we propose to recover this funtion with new programs that open urban farming to a wider public.
Agriculture fields on the Torrent Estadella zone
Torrent Estadella was once a fertile agricultural land on the Besòs river delta
The Farm of Sant Andreu as a stair in the landscape linking the Sagrera Linear Park and the Torrent Estadella area
We propose the Farm of Sant Andreu as a new model of productive, public, open a dn permeable agricultural garden for Barcelona.
The Farm of Sant Andreu
The industry was once at the heart of the city and it’s coming back
The current Sant Andreu District was, until the beginning of the XXth century, an independent town from Barcelona. This historical picture of the center of Sant Andreu, taken in the middle of the XXth century, shows how the industry was completely embedded in the urban fabric. The Fabra i Coats factory (lower left) was a major job provider, and was located at the core of the town, very close to the townhall and the church. The site of the present study, Torrent Estadella, is at the lower right corner, at the other side of the railway tracks.
The Sagrera Activity Area (S.A.A.): the home of the new urban industry
The industrial zone of Torrent Estadella is part of a larger industrial area in northern Barcelona, that we have called Sagrera Activity Area (S.A.A.). We think that this area should be treated as a whole, and that it can have a distinctive role as the best place for the new urban industry to thrive within the industrial belt of metropolitan Barcelona
The Sagrera Activity Area (S.A.A.) and the new 22u zoning category for the urban industry
For the S.A.A. area, we also propose a new zoning category called 22u that recognizes the specific urban character of this industrial area and that frees up space for renaturalized open space and encourages a more compact industrial tissue that better merges within the typically compact (and, therefore, sustainable) urban fabric of the Barcelona.
Analysis of the current situation of the Torrent Estadella industrial area
The following are the main features of the area:
-ad hoc road structure that was never thought of globally
-many private or semi-private roads
-no sidewalks; no space for pedestrians
-low rise, mostly 1 storey, extensive buildings,that form a suburban fabric
-presence of topographical cuts that are major barriers
-rich plot structure with many different plot size
The current industrial fabric is varied but surburban
The current industrial fabric is ha a rich diversity but has a suburban, not urban character: from very large plots and industries to small plats with almost artisanal workshops
An activity under the actual capacity
Map of current activities in the Torrent Estadella area and visual survey of the Torrent Estadella area industries.
Almost 25% of premises are vacant. The area is still active but with symptoms of decline.
The existing suburban industrial fabric as a consequence of the current 22a industrial zoning category 
The 22a zoning category                                                                             The proposed 22u zoning category
Existing model of suburban and extensive industry                                          A new model of urban and compact industry
The Silo building
A possible new urban and compact industrial building type
The sustainability strategies in Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park
Industrial Symbiosis
Closing of as many cycles on site as possible: rain and waste water management, recycling and upcycling, sharing ressources and creating synergies so that the waste or by-product of one industry’s activity can be used by another industry in the area.
There are many examples of symbiotic industrial parks, like Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park (DK) or Biopark Terneuzen (NL).
BCN Made: the promotion of the local industry and its products
We propose the creation of BCN Made, a non-profit corporation and website that becomes a channel to advertise the urban industries so that they can increase their impact and success, both locally and globally. Similar initiatives have been successful in New York City (Made in NYC) and San Francisco (SFMade).
Torrent Estadella Manufacturing Alliance (T.E.M.A.) and the governance framework
A good governance framework is key to the success in retaining and fostering the industry. We propose the creation of a mission-driven, on-the-ground and non-profit management company that takes real care of supporting the industry in the area and that is in close relation to the different stakeholders of the site. This approach has been very successful in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Industrial park in New York.
The barriers: the topographic cuts and fences                                           The lack of accessibility: the ad hoc road system
Strategies for the improvement of the accessibility                                    Proposed street structure evolved from the existing situation
Overall plan of the proposal for the Torrent Estadella area                           Torrent Estadella topographical boundary sections
Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park
A vibrant industrial neighborhood in central Barcelona
Torrent Estadella Eco-Industrial Park