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Every now and then the island capital Palma de Mallorca gets an extensive overhaul done by its municipal town planners.

The Romans had their main roads as an axis leading from North to South and another one leading from East to West. The Moors built a walled fortification. The Catalan reconquistas built a proper harbour and removed any evidence of a previous Moorish settlement. The Reis de Mallorca built a massive city wall, and Gaspar Bennàssar tore the city wall down again.

For the last ten years or so, the erstwhile Barrio Chino in Palma has been undergoing a massive transformation. What historically used to be a thriving community of commercial trades such as foundries, metal works, paper merchants, artisans, potteries, flour mills, breweries, boarding houses and bars, slowly developed into a run down district of immigrants, gypsies and destitute citizens, along with prostitutes and pimps. In 1989 the Ajuntament de Palma decided that enough was enough and some glorious plans were drawn up. Ten years passed with not much happening apart from grand plans and schemes, until the newly in charge mayor decided that greed was perhaps the best guideline for future prosperity for if not all, at least for the select few.

15,000 m² of inner city surface were expropriated and 55 buildings were torn down. A massive big court building was built and is now fully functioning. An enormously big underground car park was built but one cannot park one’s car there unless one buys a slot. New blocks of flats were built for 308 pisos that no-one lives in because no-one has any money left to buy them, nor any of the 57 shopping premises.

La crisis intervened. Perhaps greed was not the best possible yardstick for town planning after all.

Sa Gerreria, as the borough is now called, is by and large uninhabited, for sale, without life and with no soul. No, the mayor is not in charge any longer, nor is his successor, but yes, the prostitutes still work the streets. Apart from that, it all looks very sad really.

Do you want to buy a nice flat in central Palma, near the Avenidas?

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 13th, 2009. The time was 13:28:43.

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