Formato de cita / Citation: Arnet-Callealta, V. (2019). La Importancia de la Articulación Territorial de Escala Intermedia en la Recuperación de la Memoria del Trabajo. El Caso de Barbate. Revista de Estudios Andaluces, 38, 50-66. doi:

Correspondencia (Virginia Arnet-Callealta).

© Editorial Universidad de Sevilla 2019



The importance of the territorial articulation of the intermediate scale in the recovery of the work memory. The case of Barbate

Virginia Arnet-Callealta
Universidad Mayor (Chile). Av. Portugal Nº351, Santiago, Chile, Código Postal 8330231






Urban recovery

Western Andalusia presents specific characteristics that they differentiate from the eastern area of the territory. This area has traditionally been dominated by the wild landscapes of the Baetica, which promote a fertile agri-food industry that has a greater commercial wealth. In addition, fishing and sea have built the sustenance of the coastal industry of Andalusia, in the same way it has done with the configuration of its own identity. Across the sea, the first civilizations arrived at Andalusian coast and laid the foundations for a productive system linked to fishing, mainly of tuna, and the manufacture of the products that are derived, as well as the techniques of capture and conservation. The productive activity of the region has shaped the territorial reality of the Iberian Peninsula with a new system of intermediate city networks, between major urban centers and rural settlements, that they are indispensable for the articulation of the territory in the 21st century (Sánchez Escolano, 2010b, p.287).

Due to the significance that they have acquired as an object of research in recent decades, Andalusian intermediate cities have been positioned as fundamental elements within the geographical framework of reference and they have been established as important elements in the definition of the new territorial landscape through the constitution of a system of networks that balance and unify the territory y, furthermore, boost the economy through systems of people, goods, capital, knowledge or information flows (Caravaca Barroso, 1999).

While it is true that the Andalusian coast concentrates an extensive number of industrial elements, and that the vast majority of them are defined by an industry dependent on agriculture, fishing and livestock (Sobrino Simal, 1997, 1998), its strategic position, with easy access and communication, together with the industrializing tradition since Phoenician times, besides the immediate link of these activities with the presence of two important networks of medium cities on the coast of this province, make the province of Cádiz a relevant element for this investigation. Furthermore, the network of intermediate cities on the eastern coast of Cadiz has a long fishing tradition, as we can see in the cities of Conil and Barbate, compared to the wine industry in the west of Cadiz. Comercio Although in the Cadiz coast there are two industrial sectors strongly differentiated from the rest, the fishing and salting activity and the wine industry, this study will focus on its status as a marine metropolis originated with the Indian trade, the relevance of the sea for the territory and the strong dependence on it in all areas.

In this way, a methodology is set up in three stages that are constantly in a process of permanent reformulation to determine an epistemological positioning before the territorial and industrial reality of Barbateña that, according to the territorial model defined in the Territorial Planning Plan of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía, 2006), frames Barbate within the system of medium-sized cities as an average second-tier city, belonging to the networks of medium-sized coastal cities and, in turn, included in the territorial unit called ‘Units organized by networks of medium coastal cities’, within the territorial domain defined by said Plan as Litoral. That is why the understanding of this municipality should not be done in isolation but as an integral part of one of the networks of medium-sized cities that articulate the coast of Cadiz. In addition, the deepening in the perception of local agents regarding the importance of urban industrial heritage allows the study municipality to be included as an integral part of the La Janda Territory Ordinance Plan (Junta de Andalucía, 2011), highlighting its natural and landscape importance, in addition to its value in the influence that fishing activities have had on the definition of the image of this part of the coast of Cadiz; Therefore, the various factors that have characterized the industrialization of the municipality of Barbate can be understood as parts of a common whole, where, despite being of a different nature, each and every one of the elements are arranged in the urban fabric to configure a joint plot. Finally, the stage of propositional contextualization allows distinguishing a clearly differentiated area from the rest of the municipality that recognizes the marks of the past, presenting La Chanca as the ideal place for the recovery of work memory where heterogeneity reigns with diverse functions that historically were united under a common objective, the “almadrabera” production, and that, for that reason, it is constituted as a key space for the recovery of the industrial heritage of the middle cities of the Andalusian coast. In this way, the area of land trapped between the Atlantic Ocean and the Barbate River, facing the marshes, lets read the industrial past of the city through the architectural elements of production that have reached the 21st century.

Therefore, the need to outline strategic lines that deal with a specific heritage reality, since an integrating perspective that contemplates the architectural elements of the industrial past in order to add them to the urban fabric to which they belong and, thus, reconfigure the collective identity of the society that inhabits it from the logical understanding of the relationship landscape, industry and society.

‒LT 1. Re-establish the lost relationship between the city and the territory

‒In the first place, the characteristics and demands of a natural environment (La Breña Natural Park and Barbate’s marshes) will be addressed as a fundamental element in the organization and articulation of the daily life of the citizens of this sector of Barbate. In this way, the Lefebvrian vision of appropriation of the territory through the local assimilation of human beings in specific places is incorporated (Lefebvre, 1969, Muñoz, 2008, Zusman, 2008, Feria Toribio, 2010).

‒LT 2. Recover the industrial memory

‒On the other hand, the approach from the memory to the old factory structures, emphasizing the spatial, formal, functional and material understanding of the industrial legacy of Barbate, using it as a link between the past and the future of the coastal intermediate cities in Andalusia.

‒LT 3. Consider the functional reconversion through contemporary uses that gear to the current environment.

‒Finally, fundamental guidelines are established for considering the local user and their real needs and taking distances from traditional and romantic patrimonial intervention strategies avoiding “the proliferation of the so-called industrial wastelands” (PARDO ABAD, 2004, p.97).

The current patrimonial contingency reaffirms the need to build intervention instruments that contemplate contemporary conditions in terms of landscape, industry and territory. The immeasurable capacity of resilience presented by the intermedium cities defines the territorial suitability within the complete framework of the Andalusian coastline. This fact helps to support structural changes and conserve their fundamental characteristics after these alterations. On the other hand, the recommendations for the reuse of all the industrial parts of these enclaves contribute to the socio-economic development, in addition to promoting the sustainability of the municipality by reusing old buildings with new uses and returning the huge landscaped potential that La Breña Natural Park and Barbate’s marshes had in previous decades.

Touristic use as the main mechanism of attraction offers the possibility of preserving the industrial memory of Barbate by touring the old manufacturing fabric under a new perspective, where touristic, cultural, commercial, leisure, residential, social, sports and, even, new headquarters spaces converge. Thus, the search for sun and beach is combined with the cultural values and the hallmarks of this middle city, whose heritage and the preservation of it are fundamental aspects to keep active the memory of industrialization. In addition, the relations between cities and landscapes promote the understanding of our gaze, of our experience between the natural and the urban (Solà-Morales, 2001).

However, the suggested proposal would not have the desired results if it is not possible to involve citizenship, an essential element in order to design this environment. Therefore, without a true local experience, it would be difficult to suggest a proposal that, finally, reactivates the urban study fabric, so endogenous development is essential to carry out reuse and recycling dynamics.

The use of the legacy of the tuna fishing as a resource for leisure and tourism through the application of new combined uses, recover the architecture, the landscape, the urban fabric and social relations, as well as reaffirm feelings of belonging to the local community, taking advantage of the conjuncture offered by an environment such as Barbate.