Socio-spatial analysis of the vulnerable urban fabric in the city of Barcelona




socio-spatial analysis, urban vulnerability, residential exclusion, residential building stock, housing pathology


Socio-residential vulnerability is one of currently increasing challenges for cities and metropolitan areas in addressing the interaction between the vulnerable resident population and the need to improve the building stock, particularly after the financial crisis of 2008 and the consequent regression of public investments.

Recent studies have measured and described the levels of vulnerability in the city of Barcelona and their results highlight socio-spatial similarities between urban fabrics that happen to be morphologically, historically and geographically very different.

The present research focuses on the assessment of physical and social shortcomings of vulnerable areas in the city of Barcelona. With this purpose, a sample of buildings in some of the most vulnerable neighbourhoods are statistically analysed through a set of variables at building scale related to both the need of improvement of residential existing buildings and the characteristics of their inhabitants.

An extensive sample of cases is described through several profiles according to the simultaneity of indicators both from a physical and social perspective. As a result, the cross-analysis of indicators and profiles according to each neighbourhood and urban fabric, contributes to better understanding the specificities of each area. Moreover, the cartography of results provides information on how certain indicators and profiles manifest geographically in the urban fabric and the city.

The observation of the combination of shortcomings in the different urban fabrics is a helpful tool for the design of future polices that aim for the improvement of living conditions in vulnerable residential buildings from an integral perspective that aims at addressing both physical and social issues.


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Author Biographies

Sara Vima-Grau, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

PhD researcher and Postgraduate Teaching Assistant of the Department of Technology in Architecture

Còssima Cornadó, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Lecturer professor Serra Húnter Fellow, PhD architect of the Department of Technology in Architecture

Pilar Garcia-Almirall, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Professor of the Department of Technology in Architecture


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How to Cite

Vima-Grau, S., Cornadó, C. and Garcia-Almirall, P. (2019) “Socio-spatial analysis of the vulnerable urban fabric in the city of Barcelona”, VITRUVIO - International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, 4(2), pp. 75–89. doi: 10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2019.12559.