Although Poble Nou is technically part of the Eixample (its layout was drafted over the area) its historic centre (which was once entirely separate from Barcelona) predates Cerdà’s grid. In the 19th century, during the Industrial Revolution, Poblenou (meaning  “new village” in Catalan) was the epicentre of Catalan and indeed Spanish industry, earning it its nickname the Manchester of Catalonia. Here Catalan industrial barons  set up factories on cheap land close to the sea, attracting large numbers of migrant workers from the rest of Catalonia and Spain. The factories were surrounded by large working class areas, which sfter a period of decay, have to extent undergone a dramatic transformation, not without its critics. Many of the areas that have been developed—including the Vila Olímpica, the Diagonal Mar area, and the Fòrum area—arguably now form  neighborhoods in their own right.  The 22@ plan aims to convert Poblenou into Barcelona’s technological and innovation district, as well as to increase leisure and residential spaces. This has attracted artists and young professionals to converted former factories and warehouses.

The main commercial street of Rambla de Poblenou, which stretches from Avinguda Diagonal to the beach,  is attractive and leafy with some interesting bars.

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