With large investments made in refurbishing and emphasizing its waterfront in recent years, Barcelona has set off on a path towards rejuvenation -- bringing in many foreigners and a surge of young, creative professionals.
"The city has even developed its own strategy for cultivating for this young, professional European elite."
"Barcelona is one of those cities that have been forced to reinvent themselves more than once. It's here towards the end of the 18th century that a sort of Spanish Manchester arose, while the rest of the rather unproductive kingdom was still shaking off the grips of the Inquisition. That helped Barcelona develop a unique bourgeoisie that included sensible merchants and traders, but also eventually artists such as Miró and Dalí."
"Design is omnipresent here. The new part of town is based on a grid -- with rounded corners -- developed toward the end of the 19th century. The cobblestones sport ornamentation including snails and blossoms. The street signs are naturally in the Catalan language, since Barcelona is proud of its distinct culture and identity with all of its quirks."
"Eight years ago only 3 percent of the population was foreigners. According to the latest census, now some 16 percent of the city's 1.6 million inhabitants are. With an area of 101 square kilometers making it one of Europe's most densely populated cities, Barcelona is now home to samba rhythms and African drums, as well as construction workers from Ecuador and computer freaks from Sweden."