Ghadeer Mansour | Economist and Urbanist

If a city could tell its story, would it be of its people and culture, its industries and economy, its natural landscape and local resources, its buildings and infrastructure, or its history and politics? 

The urban planning Faber Residency gave a group of strangers from all across the world the chance to hear the story of Olot. 

I didn’t feel the time pass, and this new place began to feel familiar. In Olot, I explored the rural, agro,and eco tourism offered in the mountains, valleys, and volcanoes; the food production by farmers; the craftsmanship of artists; the alternative financing of cooperatives; the education in schools; the diversity of shared public spaces; the preservation and revitalization of medieval structures; and the renewable energy harnessed by modern technologies.

In a short stay, I worked on projects that captured the essence of Olot. The public’s will shut down McDonald’s in favor of a local restaurant, and that is a refreshing in our age of low-quality (cost) multinational corporations. I walk away from this residency with a strong lesson about urban planning: a town rich in heritage and identity will build its own riches.

To the people of Olot and Faber, thank you for having me as your guest. This is not goodbye, but see you later.