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Barcelona expands further with 'cultural Olympiad'

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Barcelona is planning a 'cultural Olympiad' for 2004, forming part of a major extension of the city which will dwarf the redevelopment that took place for the Olympic Games.

International architectural competitions are likely for both a new station at Sagrera to link to tgv lines and for the buildings of the cultural festival, 'Universal Forum of Culture - Barcelona 2004', on 55ha of land to the north of the city, reclaimed from the sea.

This will form part of the Diagonal Mar development, an extension of the Diagonal road to the sea, as was planned but not realised when Cerda's nineteenth-century grid was drawn up. The development is an indication that Barcelona, awarded the Royal Gold Medal last week, is continuing its programme of improvement. Diagonal Mar will include 10-12,000 flats and houses, two parks and a shopping centre, as well as providing a new home for Barcelona Zoo.

The excavations are providing the soil which is being used to reclaim the land for the Forum of Culture. It is beside the mouth of the polluted River Besos, which is being cleaned up. A sustainable use is planned for the long-term future of the Forum of Culture buildings.

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