Poblenou is one of the districts which has experienced most radical changes in the last years. At the end of the 19th century the neighbourhood of Poblenou contained the greatest concentration of factories in Catalonia. Today, one hundred and twenty-five years later, the same area is about to become a modern district where industrial warehouses are converted into lofts and the City Council's venture 22@ promotes the creation of technological hub.
At the end of the 19th century the neighbourhood came to be popularly known as "The Manchester of Catalonia" due to the concentration of industry: Attracted by the proximity of the city and readily available water sources, the period's textile businesses started to build the first factories and, bit by bit, other sectors, from the automobile industry to graphic arts or food suppliers, arrived.
Well into the 20th century it was still an industrial and working class district, in which the ever growing population settled in shanty towns like the Somorrostro- where the famous flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya was raised-, Pekín and Transcementiri.
The neighbourhood had its first major renovation at the end of the eighties, with the construction of the Olympic Village for the '92 Games in Barcelona, and later with the extention of the Diagonal avenue for the celebration of the Forum 2004 events.
In a walk through its streets, with some imagination and attention, you will see how the industrial past and the technological present live side by side. Going down Carrer de Ciutat de Granada, you will find good examples of how old structures can be put to good use: the conversion of industrial warehouses into lofts. The best example is El Vapor Llull (Llull, 133), a chemical company converted into residential and work premises, usually occupied by artists, following the model of Soho in New York.
The large spaces of the old industrial warehouses have also been used to house discotheques, turning Poblenou into one of the city's best loved night-life leisure areas.