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Over the last twenty years Barcelona has reached the apex of its public appeal, and the time has come for a critical evaluation of its recent past. Barcelona is an emblematic example of how a European and Mediterranean city can be radically transformed. Starting from the 1980s, through investment in contemporary architecture, tourism, and advanced services, the city abandoned its traditional identity as an industrial center.
After 1992, following the Olympics and the international success the city enjoyed as a result, Barcelona became a "model" city, renowned for its architecture, urban projects, attention to urban morphology, and context. Through extensive "in the field" investigation, giving voice to key figures in culture, architecture, and politics, and a vast array of images, the author gives a critical account of the various "stages" in Barcelona’s recent history, putting them into historical context and drawing parallels with local and international currents.