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Cities of manana

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Spain's answer to Jeremy Paxman, Jose Luis Balbin, hosted a debate on the future of cities in Valencia last week.The international panel included a local politician who issued a plea that Valencia should learn from the way in which Barcelona has capitalized on its Gaudi connection. After all, he pointed out: 'We have Calatrava, we have. . .Norman Foster.'

Foster's Valencia Convention Centre is the only contemporary building to be featured on Valencia's official tourist map.

While the quality of the debate was high, the organization was decidedly relaxed.The manana manana attitude gave the UK representatives - AJ editor Isabel Allen and AJ contributor Kenneth Powell - plenty of shopping time before the event, but also meant that the debate did not start until 15 minutes before Powell had to leave for his plane. He was last seen making a hasty exit clutching a paella pan, a string of garlic, a bundle of dried chillies and a large dried sausage. The ensemble was topped off by a thank-you present from the organizers - a porcelain figurine of Don Quixote.

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