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Josep Maria Solé Gras

PhD Programme

Ciutat, Territori i Planificació Sostenible

Research group

Centre de Recerca Urbana del Camp 


Pau de Solà-Morales Serra & Jordi Sardà Ferran


Graduated as an Architect specialised in Urban Planning at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (ETSAB), Josep Maria Solé Gras holds a DESS in Gestion Urbaine dans les Pays en Développment by the Université de Montréal (2014) and a Master of Advance Studies in Housing by ETH Zurich (2018). In recent years, it has been combining his professional career with research activities in different centres and institutions such Laboratori d'Urbanisme de Barcelona (LUB), URBAM-EAFIT, Groupe Interuniversitaire de Montréal or contexts such Europe (Switzerland, Spain); Latin America (Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, Chile); North America (Canada and USA); Africa (Cameroon); or Asia (India). He has taught in the Departament d'Urbanisme i Ordenació del Territori (ETSAB, UPC) and Universitat Rovira i Virgili and has been invited lecturer or urban teacher in different Universities in Switzerland (ETH Zürich); Chile (Pontificia); Colombia (Universidad Nacional). He has been tutor in the European Association of Students of Architecture (EASA) held in Fredericia (Denmark, 2017). His main research interests are urban processes -formal and informal-, access to affordable housing, the right to the city, the sustainable management of the territory and the landscape in a transverse and holistic sense.

Project: Expecting landscapes: The case of Camp de Tarragona

The dynamics of transformation and growth of the traditional city are well understood in terms of its patterns and the cause-effect ingredients at play (land-value, capital investment, population growth, etc.). Urban geography and planning have the analytical tools to monitor the historical and present conditions of the urban tissues and explain their foreseeable changes. However, there is a continuous transformation around the frontiers of these two apparently opposite realities generating buffers of in-between vacant spaces where the forces and dynamics are not well understood. This series of terrain vagues do not strictly follow the capitalist setting based on a sequence of combined legislative measures relying on economic vectors that translate the surplus benefit derived of the urban development that could be actively combined with social needs or ideological-political will. These landscapes are often the unexpected result of the expectancies created from the very announcement -or even the rumor- of the advent of transformation unleashing the abandonment of the agriculture production, the soaring land prices and the continuous trading process, and the protoindustrial or residential appearance. In sum, property and production change in significant ways deeply affecting how we perceive and inhabit these expecting landscapes beyond their pure quantitative value. Their latency condition of continual expectation could linger their forced arrest state for a very long periods striking different logics and uses. Thus, this research project aims at studying the so-called expecting landscapes meanings and evolution, unveiling different patterns and possible correlations between layers, indicators, concepts or vectors. During this research course, new tools are expected to be explored and tested taking the Camp the Tarragona as its main laboratory. Eternally called to be the "second metropolitan region of Catalonia", its richness in terms of variety of phenomena has been increased with the economic crisis that began in 2007, resulting in endless frozen areas with conditions of great centrality and peripheral low-intensity treatment. This is, without a doubt, a paradox of global scale with local answers that easily allows to establish comparative studies with other regions of similar measure, nature or vocation.