Furniture and facilities in metropolitan beaches | Photograph: Jordi Surroca
Barcelona's metropolitan coastline unites 8 municipalities and runs along 42 km, 30 of which are beaches. The AMB is in charge of the integrated management of the beaches, and is in charge of all the elements on them: sand, furniture, playgrounds and sports facilities, water and sanitation facilities, and seasonal modules such as toilettes, first-aid, police and beach bars. This integrated management not only includes the basic maintenance tasks, but also the continuous improvement of the metropolitan beaches, taking user needs into account and adapting the spaces to new uses, as well as improving the environmental functionality of these natural spaces.
The metropolitan beach management model, which has been awarded the UNE-EN-ISO 9001:2000 certification, includes continuous assessment measures to detect new demands and improvements needed, so as to allow everyone to enjoy functional and quality spaces.
Considering the number and variety of beach facilities, the AMB started to work towards harmonisation so as to make these elements more efficient and make it easier to identify them all along the metropolitan coastline. These works led to the adoption, in 2012, of the Plan to organise the facilities, furniture and services on metropolitan beaches, which defines and organises elements relating to:
Safety: Marking off the swimming areas, breakwaters and boat transit areas. Observation and surveillance from watch towers and immediate medical attention in specific modules.
Hygiene conditions: Semi-buried waste bins and containers placed along the coast. Installation of public toilettes, showers and foot showers.
Accessibility: Improvements to accesses to beaches and elimination of physical barriers. Signalling of areas with a high environmental value and improvement to signpost.
Leisure and sports activities: Defining a new catalogue of furniture and organising these activities to facilitate the practice of sports activities.
Shops and restaurants: Providing beaches with these services, by organizing them and optimizing space.
So as to advance in the implementation of the Plan, the metropolitan administration, in 2012, drafted the Catalogue of beach furniture, to find the models that are best suited to user needs, the requirements of planners, that are multi-functional and to simplify maintenance tasks.
The Barcelona Metropolitan Area, in collaboration with the Opinion Survey Department at the City Council of Barcelona, carries out a study on beach occupancy every two years, for all metropolitan beaches except Barcelona. The 2014 study was conducted through 40 days of direct observation, from the middle of May to the middle of September, on around 15 beaches in seven municipalities on the metropolitan coastline. The data collected allow having an estimate on the number of people on the beaches during the summer months: excluding data for the city of Barcelona, the metropolitan beaches were used by 4.75 million people -8.5 million if we include Barcelona–. The results of the study are presented to all the town councils involved so as to analyse the data and take decisions on future actions.
Quality management of beaches
Services and facilities in metropolitan beaches