A hole where a swimming pool once stood has become a community focal point for the residents of Madrid’s La Latina district

At the crossroads in La Latina, the old-town barrio at the heart of Madrid, a scruffy blue-and-white painted fence of corrugated steel runs the curve of the corner. Peer through a porthole, and you’ll find yourself looking down into a wide, space of poured concrete and graffiti, scattered with tiered benches, a basketball hoop at either end. This is El Campo de la Cebada, a community space created por y para los vecinos – for and by the neighbours – when the local authority demolished the swimming pool. The money for a new one ran out early in the project, leaving a gaping 5,500-metre scar.

Here, raucous, friendly teenagers gather on the benches, watching street performers practising their juggling. Couples sprawl between the railway-sleeper garden boxes, sharing bocadillos de calamares (squid rolls). A homeless man finds a place to sit, away from the road. Solitary readers, such as myself, inch around, following the sun, occasionally looking up to listen.

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Source: The Guardian

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